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                             Children in sport.

I Hello, and welcome to today's 'You & Yours'. On today's  program  we  look
at children who are trying to be champions in the world of  sport,  and  the
pressures they can be under to win. Now I spoke to Allan Baker,  the  former
British Athletics coach, and he had this to say.
AB Well the problem is that you want to  find  these  children  at  quite  a
young age, to train them and motivate them as early as  "possible.  At  that
age they don't have social problems, you know they don't have boyfriends  or
girlfriends, so they give their sport the whole of their life.  But  they're
so young that they can lose  their  childhood,  and  they're  adults  before
they're 16. But of course they're not adults at all. Physically they can  be
quite  developed,  but  emotionally  they're  still  children.   Everybody's
looking for the new young star of the  future,  because  there's  a  lot  of
money to be earned.
I Tennis is one of the  sports  where  youngsters  can  play  against  their
 elders with more than a chance of success.  In  America  there  are  tennis
 schools which accept children from as young as 9. So from the age  of  9  a
 boy or girl is playing tennis for four or five hours every day,  and  doing
 ordinary school work around that. I  spoke  to  the  team  manager  of  the
 English Lawn Tennis Association, Pam de Grouchy.
PG You see, we've already seen two 14-year-old American girls, that's  Tracy
 Austin and Andrea Jaeger, playing at Wimbledon, and now, both at  18,  they
 are now already showing the pressures on their bodies and their minds,  and
 people are beginning to question whether this is a good thing for children.
 A 14-year-old  just  can't  cope  with  the  pressures  of  Wimbledon,  the
 tournament, the Wimbledon crowds, and the press reporters. Well, I  say  to
 my girls, 'Stay at home, stay at school, do the things that teenagers  like
 doing. If you like swimming, well swim; if you like going to  dances,  just
 go!' And if when they're older they'd really  like  to  be  a  professional
 tennis player, well, they'll be a little  older  than  the  Americans,  but
 they'll be better people for it, of that I'm perfectly sure.
I Pam de Grouchy thinks that young players shouldn't be  allowed  to  become
 professionals until the age of 17 or 18 at least.  I  asked  her  what  was
 responsible for the pressures on the young players - was it the money  that
 can be earned, the parents, or perhaps the children themselves?
PG Oh no, it's the parents, without a shadow of a doubt. They want  to  push
 their children. I get letters from parents saying, 'My little Johnny enjoys
 playing tennis all day, and he'd like to learn only that and be trained  by
 a professional coach', and quite frankly I just don't believe it.
I But what about the youngsters themselves? Robert,  a  100-metre  and  200-
metre runner gave me an idea of his  training  program,  and  his  own  very
simple way of avoiding trouble.
R Well I train under a coach for three days a  week,  and  then  decide  how
 much running to do. If I've trained hard, well then maybe I run five miles,
 you know, if not so much, then eight miles. Well, of course, I'd like to go
 to the next Olympics and represent Great Britain, and of course I'd like to
 win a gold but there are lots of other things I like  doing  with  my  life
 too.  I play in a rock group and I'm also  a  keen  photographer.  Well,  I
 suppose for me the most important thing  is  enjoyment.  If,  if  you  win,
 you're happy, and if you lose, it's the same. I mean if you  start  getting
 upset every time you lose, I think it's time to stop.
I The sports stars of tomorrow, and good luck to them.