School is back in session and sports are up and running. New freshman are doing their best to compete and upperclassmen are fighting for positions. Down the road the middle school athletics and youth teams are in full roar. Kids from 8-17 are competing at various levels in various sports. There are definite standouts and ones that are just out there for a good time or I should say because their parents want them out there. Both parents and kids are looking for an edge to be the best. So when is the right time to specialize in one sport? When do you put the other sports aside and just focus on one. It is quite the debate in my house with my wife since I grew up playing varsity sports in all seasons and she focused on one; swimming. So what road worked the best? What produced the best results?
Well… It depends. We both played sports all the way through college at a competitive level with her achieving All-American status. Score one for the wife. In my high school graduating class I graduated with the most varsity letters and was captain of some of the teams. Score one for Ben. Before we had kids we both were competitive yet anything that was outside the pool she would always say, “I’m not very good with the land sports, get me in a pool and I’ll kick your a@$”
She was right in both aspects.
What’s the moral? Let your wife win. Just kidding.
The moral is to let kids be kids. They are too busy playing video games and other technology for one. Secondly, encourage them to play and experience all kinds of sports. It teaches valuable movement and athleticism that will be sorely missed if only one sport is focused on. In fact I will go as far to say that playing other sports will help them become better at their favorite sport. It kills me to see a kid that has played the same thing all their life and has no idea how to swing a baseball bat or a golf club going into high school. Absolutely absurd!
Lastly, when it comes to training kids. Movement quality, development and education injected with tons of fun will produce the best results. Giving kids weights and saying have at it or I saw this on TV or in a magazine is a recipe for disaster.
If you have kids and have questions about their training (or lack of) or development please email me for more information.