"Good, better, best. Never let it rest. 'Til your good is better and your better is best."
They should have included more facts and less opinion.
Interesting although I don't necessarily agree with the premise. Just because a kid decides to specialize in one sport does not mean it's the parents dreams. My DD, while growing up, played club soccer, swimming, basketball, volleyball, golf, and softball. All of the other sports she played for one season only because they didn't interest her but we made her finish out her commitment to the team. Softball on the other hand she loves and has played TB for the last four years. She wants to have the opportunity to play in college. She's not necessarily looking for a scholarship but she wants to be able to walk on and at least be competitive with the other players. She also knows that in order to be able to do this, she has to maintain good grades, score well on the ACT/SAT test and keep out of trouble. So tell me, how is my DD specializing in a single sport that she loves to play, a sport that is self-motivating her to strive to be better/practice hard, maintain her grades, be disciplined to accommodate her busy schedule, and stay out of trouble bad for her? For all I know, DD may be abnormal but from the other members' posts on here, she is probably more the norm.
I'm not saying that this isn't happening with the super-competitive parents out there. I know that from my mother-in-law. DW was an excellent pianist and went to a prestigious college on a music scholarship. She could have been a concert pianist at the highest level. However, after 2 years she burned out. DW couldn't take it anymore and transferred to another college to go into teaching.
My personal opinion is that there are always extremes in every situation and to highlight only one side of it is nothing more than propaganda.
Last edited by YOCOACH; 04-24-2014 at 02:09 PM.
These sound like first world problems to me.
Here is Canada there is a big push to avoid specialization in a sport until the age of 13-14 or so.
The goal is to have them play 3-4 sports with no year round participation in a single sport.
The idea is that, in addition to avoiding burnout, that it avoids overuse injuries and, more importantly,
it lets kids develop overall athletic ability as other sports utilize different muscles.
The studies show that it is more productive to develop all around athletes who can then specialize later on
in a specific sport and excel by bringing their overall better rounded abilities to the sport. The idea is that
it is easier to develop say softball related skills it a total athlete than try to develop overall athletic
ability in a softball player. The overall athlete generally reaches higher levels than the specialist.
The overall athlete is also more likely to stay active for life. If a specialist burns out, they may end up
not physically active at all.
The program is not without some critics but is generally accepted and came about after reviewing how to best
develop Olympic level talent as well as increase the overall activity level in society. The program governs
pretty much all sports funding and theory nationally here.
Here is the general government website for the sports model.
If you look around, it shows the philosophy (I think Australia is using a similar model).
I will look for the detailed studies (they can be hard to find).
Softball is considered a late specialization sport that you can take up at 13 and still reach elite levels (so the theory goes).
I bought the book, but only read part of it. I'm encouraging my daughter to play three sports a year- AYSO, NJB, and softball. I've been around a rec league for 10 years and I've seen several girls who when they are 11 or 12 think they want to play year round softball, but by the time they are 15 don't want to play softball anymore.
I guess I'm neutral... articles such as these tend to be inflammatory and based on the experiences of a small subset. In my own experience, kid #1 chose to play just softball - she's really not interested in anything else. She plays both TB and HS ball, adding up to a year-round commitment, but with time for hanging out with friends, writing, photography and lots of other little individual hobbies.
Kid #2's main focus is (TB) baseball, but in addition he plays football, basketball and runs track for his middle school. He's happiest when he's on the field, so it works for him, even when he goes directly from a track meet to baseball practice. He doesn't have time for anything else, but that's what he likes. I wasn't even going to sign him up for track until he reminded me of it himself.
Anyway I think it just depends on the kid. The most important thing that we can do as parents is to give our kids enough room to show us which way they want to grow. My kid #2 is perfectly happy being OK at his middle school sports and slightly better than average at baseball - if I made him focus on just baseball, thinking that it would make him much better, he'd be miserable. Opposite with Kid #1 - we tried to get her into other sports - she just really hated everything but softball.
The coach in me loves the kid who played multiple sports at younger ages. Softball does a poor job at teaching athleticism. By the time the kids are in highschool if they haven't learned how to move their body, it's too late to teach them. Other sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball, ect, do a much better job at teaching basic body control and function.