Back in my day, we had a sports camp my daughters could sign up for – which was one week – to get introduced to some sports. Organized sports didn’t really start until middle school/Jr. High and it wasn’t as much of a time and financial commitment as I see you poor parents having as your new normal.
And for all you other parents that are on the fence for early in-depth sports participation, I ask you to consider a few things….
- Kids can pick up a sport later and be ok. Have you heard about the story of Misty Copeland, the Ballet Dancer? She didn’t start ballet until she was 13 – which is the equivalent of me starting ballet now (I’m soon to be 70). She made it to the principal ballet dancer at the American Ballet Theater.
- Not specializing in a sport is ok. The research supports it. Check this out:
The main conclusion of this study?
Early specialization reduces the chance that children will stay active in sports as adults
Is the goal to have your kids be active, having fun and developing a lifelong love of fitness? If it isn’t, maybe it should be? (Remember, I’m a mom and grandma, I’ve got the chops to be preachin’)
Most athletes who achieved elite status as adults (college, Olympics) played multiple sports when they were young
- – Now, I never thought my kids would “achieve elite status” in any sport. I just wanted them to have fun, get some exercise, learn something new, and give me a little time in the summer to myself – which is hugely important by the way!
For maximum developmental benefits, a majority of the time spent on deliberate practice should be obtained beginning in adolescence and not as a child athlete
- – Basically, far more kids can get “burnt out” if they specialize in one sport at an early age. Give your kid, and yourself, a break from feeling like if you don’t get them into something as soon as he or she can walk that he/she will never play that sport and will be left in the dust. With maturity comes coordination, focus and sometimes even passion. All of which helps any late starter to catch up quickly. So STOP WORRIYING SO DAMN MUCH! It’s bad for your complexion…