The Risks of Overspecialization and Professionalized Youth Sports

Athletics are many a boy’s first love. So many of our own students are passionate for sport–a transformative conglomeration of play and work, melded into one sweaty contest against others and the self. Indeed, our School has helped produce numerous Division I, II, and III athletes over the years. That said, the Washington D.C. area is leading the charge towards the continued professionalization of youth sports. Overuse injuries, club-team culture, and parental over-involvement can backfire on your attempts to instill good character in your athlete. Mr. Alex Berthe, a coach, parent, advisor, and former D-I Ivy League soccer player, shares his insights on the challenges of early specialization for love of the game.

Alex Berthé

About the guest:

Alex Berthé

Alex Berthe, LCSW-C is a Bethesda-based psychotherapist working with teens, young adults, and parents. He completed his B.A. from Columbia University in 2003. While there he was a four-year member of the Lion's division I men's varsity soccer team. Alex describes his early to late-20's as being a bit of a blur. No, not for nefarious reasons. But because he was on the grind: pursuing a professional soccer career, mentoring kids on probation, waiting tables in NYC while pursuing an acting career, selling Cutco knives and high-tech software, and... he thinks that's it. It was during this time of searching that Alex fell in love with his faith and his now wife, and that he got some of the important answers he was looking for in life. At the tender age of 28, he returned to school to earn his MSW from the Catholic University of America in order to become a psychotherapist. While in school, he worked at the Youth Leadership Foundation's Tenley Achievement Program. There, he directed all-boys supplemental education and character building programs for youth from underserved communities. After five years at the YLF, Alex felt called to serve within the all-boys independent school world. He joined the faculty at The Landon School as a counselor before moving on to join the faculty at The Heights as a middle school teacher. During this time, he also moonlighted as a therapist with various Bethesda-based private practice groups. He started his own private practice in 2016, Berthe Counseling Group LLC, and has been there ever since. Alex offers individual and group psychotherapy to treat people with mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. He has a special interest in working with teens and young adults with ADHD. Alex also offers an eight-week parenting group that focuses on child development, parenting, family culture, and sparking more joy in family life.

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