Win or lose. We just want to play. According to the Aspen Institute’s Project Play, the average child spends less than three years playing sports, stopping at age 11, mostly because the sport is no longer fun. With the Little League Regionals and World Series in full swing, Little League and ESPN have partnered to launch a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign aimed at addressing the rise of “win-at-all-costs” behavior among parents and coaches. negative impact on children who simply want to play sports.
“The majority of adults involved in youth sports participate for the right reasons, but we want to use our platform to highlight the negative impact that the behavior of overbearing parents and coaches can have on a child’s youth sports experience,” said Liz DiLullo. Brown, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Little League and a mother of two. “Our two new PSAs, created in partnership with ESPN, tackle this important topic, reminding us that children are the most important beneficiaries of a positive youth sports experience. Little League International is proud of all the adult volunteers and caregivers who do it the right way around the world, but it’s time to directly address the need to support our players and their experiences when adult behavior creates a negative environment.
The launch of these two new PSAs, which will air during the 340 Little League games that will be broadcast this summer on the ESPN Family of Networks, coincides with the launch of the new Little League Diamond Leaders Training Program. Created as part of the Susan Crown Exchange’s Million Coach Challenge to train one million coaches to improve youth sports experiences, the Diamond Leader Program is a free educational experience for Little League coaches and volunteers. This digital learning experience focuses on giving Little League volunteers the tools they need to support the social and emotional aspects of youth sports in line with the Aspen Institute’s Project Play. Little League’s Diamond Leader program launched this summer as a pilot program and is expected to roll out to all Little League volunteers in 2023.
Filmed at Darien (Conn.) Little League, where the production features league players and volunteers rather than child actors, the PSA (view) about two coaches follows the back-and-forth between two Little League teams. One coach takes a win-at-all-costs approach, while the other focuses on providing a positive player experience, demonstrating the impact these two approaches have on their respective Little Leaguers®. The Kids Have Had Enough PSA ( view ) follows the team’s reaction when the opposing player’s father berates them from behind the fence.
“We’ve been proud to work with Little League on their PSAs over the past few years and were intrigued when they pitched us ideas for this year’s campaign,” said Geoffrey Bird, ESPN senior writer/producer. “Working with longtime Winter Films collaborator Barrett Esposito, we were excited to partner on these two pieces that we hope will have a positive impact on improving the youth sports experience.”
The PSA campaign is Little League’s latest campaign to continue promoting a player-centric experience across all 6,500 leagues in more than 80 countries around the world. Over the past three years, in addition to launching its new Little League Diamond Leader program, Little League has increased Little League University’s free resources; launched its Little League Sandlot Fun Days program, an unstructured player-led play opportunity; enhanced its Girls with Game initiative, celebrating women’s participation; and has been recognized as an Aspen Institute Project Game Champion.
“Countless children are exposed to youth sports through Little League, and the adult volunteers who support this experience have a huge responsibility in nurturing their love of the game and instilling the life lessons that come from participating in sports,” said Nina Johnson-Pitt. , Little League strategy manager and mother of three. “Thanks to Susan Crown Exchange’s support through the Million Coaches Challenge, we are excited to launch the Little League Diamond Leader Program as one of our newest initiatives to help provide the support our volunteers need as they give back. to their children in their community. This PSA campaign highlights the all-too-real experiences our kids are having in youth sports today, and it’s more important than ever for Little League to lead the way in improving adult behavior on fields and fields around the world.
To see these new PSAs, be sure to tune in to the 2022 Little League Baseball and Softball Regionals and World Series on ESPN networks throughout the summer, culminating in the 75th anniversary of the Little League Baseball World Series on August 17. 28. Be sure to visit LittleLeague.org/WorldSeries for more information, including a complete game schedule and telecast for each game.