via Coach Dawn Writes:
Writing a post about how kids shouldn’t specialize in a particular sport when they’re too young may seem a bit disingenuous for me. After all, as a college coach, I directly benefit from our culture’s obsession with organized youth sports. In my opinion, most kids in youth sports aren’t playing because they have a deep and lasting love of their particular sport, but because their friends play and their parents make them go. Sport should be fun for even the most highly skilled young athletes.
Beyond fun, parents and coaches should encourage youth athletes to play all sorts of sports so that their bodies can rest. Young kids can play volleyball in the fall, soccer in the winter, and run track in the spring. They’re still working out and being healthy, but not overtaxing the same muscle groups by playing the same sport year-round. You can read more about this by reading Dr. Geier’s blog post, How Young Is Too Young?.
So what makes kids decide to quit playing?
They’ve lost interest. After a year of playing, maybe your eight-year-old realizes that soccer isn’t as great as she thought it would be…that’s probably okay.
They’re not having fun. Even for my college athletes, I think fun is important. We play games, not works, sport should be fun.
They’re tired of playing. Think about the youth sport carousel: practice a couple of times a week after school, get up early on Saturdays and Sundays to play in tournaments…it can be a grind. I always wonder how the parents balance it all, maybe it would be a similarly good question to wonder how the kids manage it.