I've just spent an hour going through YouTube videos on overcoming performance anxiety and how to prepare for soccer tryouts. As I did so, I thought about the criticisms of modern parents that we push our kids too hard. I've heard other parents in the stands at games exclaim, "We never had travel baseball when I was growing up. We didn't have club soccer, either!"
Whatever things were like in the past, we have kids' competitive sports leagues now and that's just the way it is. It's an evolution of sorts, people learning how to get better at all ages in all things. For example, we didn't have computers decades ago, so school was a bit easier, particularly engineering curricula. There was less to learn. Now there's more learning, more competition and you have to work harder to achieve success. Sports is no different. It's more sophisticated than ever.
Maybe instead of pushing our kids too hard, what we're doing is reacting to a new reality. I know that for my daughter, her goal of playing high school soccer is unattainable if she doesn't play club ball. I have to push her harder than girls her age were pushed 40 years ago. She has to learn how to succeed in the America of 2011, not some world of the past.