Friday, March 2, 2012
Kids in Sports- So many questions
Ok, I have so many questions and finally have a few minutes to put some thoughts down on my blog. I would love anyones feedback but parents especially would be great.
So, I have 4 kids who are all very involved with sports, music, etc... Each child plays between 1-3 sports at any given time but typically each sport only takes up 2 days a week, sometimes 3. They are never forced to play but are highly encouraged to be active. When your kids are younger you have town soccer, t-ball, swim lessons, nothing too major and certainly nothing that takes up too much of your childs time. As your child gets older the committment to each sport especially if they love it and are good at it at the same time can increase. So whats the limit? 2 days a week, 3 days a week? At what age can your child decide that one sport is what they really want to do? Do you encourage your child to play a sport year round?
So these are some of my questions and here are some examples:
1. Oldest son currently plays club soccer which involves two practices a week and a game. We decided to not have him play town soccer because we didn't want him playing 5 days a week. Instead he plays basketball two days a week and he has piano lessons once a week. The question I have with regards to my 10 year old is that he is a very good soccer player and club requires you to play year round. You play fall/winter/spring with a 6 week break in the winter and then June-August off. My opinion is different then some people, I don't feel that my child is playing too much soccer, he loves being with his friends, he only plays 3 days a week and he is able to cross train with other sports. He loves soccer, he is injury free and with the continuity of playing consistently he has gotten so much better. Some peoples opinions are that we are getting are kids involved in year round sports too soon, increasing their risk of injury and burnout. I don't disagree with this statement but if you can control some aspect of your childs life, i.e., if he doesn't want to go one day he doesn't go, if he decides he wants to take a break you let him, etc... you allow the child to be part of the process of making the decision of playing their sports but at the same time making sure as a parent that you are making sure your child isn't overtraining, is getting proper coaching, fueling his or her body appropriately so that they can excel physically as well as mentally, I think this is fine.
I think what is also important is that you make sure that the child is doing what they want to do not what "the parent" wants them to do. The, " I am living through my childs life" comes to mind with a lot of people. I also feel that you support your child and make sure that your always positively reinforcing what they are doing will always be beneficial.
2. Scenario #2: young daughter- age of 7, is currently swimming on a club swim team, swims 1hr 2-3 times a week, usually 2 but if their is a meet coming up she will swim 3 times in that week. Her swimming is very periodized where she has her build weeks and her recovery weeks, she also plays club soccer 2-3 times a week and basketball once a week. Club swimming requires a year round committement with some time off during the winter and about a 5 week break at the end of July through till the beginning of the school year. My husband thinks that my daughter should take off the winter and just swim fall and spring. I understand where he is coming from but I also know how difficult it is on the body to build up so much fitness take off 3 months and then spend the rest of the next season rebuilding what you have lost. Now, that being said my daughter is only 7 and is not training for the olympics or anything but she is very good and she absolutely loves swimming with her friends. Whenever she needs a break I let her stay home, she has never asked to not go I usually have to be the one that calls her coach to tell her she is taking the day off, I know my daughter I want her to swim ( if she wants) for a long time, I don't want her to lose love of the sport.
So my questions are:
1 Should kids play year round sports, if so at what age is it appropriate?
2. Should kids play more than 1 sport at any given time?
3. At what age do you think its important for your child to consider specializing in a sport so they can focus on just 1 or 2?
4. If your child is really good at a sport and you know they could really do well do you encourage them in the sport, do you let them dictate to you what they want, do you allow them to just walk away if that is what you want?
We all want to do what's right for our children and fitness and activity is very important but what is the limit?