Many believe that all of the hard work starts early. Like the saying says “he early bird gets the worm. ” But is that all that sport is really about? I use to think that the answer to that question was yes! I feel that there are more disadvantages to sport specialization than there are advantages. Do you realize that sports affect us all in one way or another Whether or not you like sports has nothing to do with the whether or not it affects you. It’s one thing for kids to dream of Olympic gold medals or Super Bowl rings and to work toward those goals.
But it’s another matter if parents are pushing their kids to do something they don’t want or pressuring them to succeed in a way that’s hurtful. They may have to sacrifice other interests and give up most of the down time that allows them to just be kids. Not only are these youngsters at risk for emotional burnout, they may also develop injuries that plague them for a lifetime. Kids are going into sports way too young, sometimes starting to learn the basics as soon as motor skills are developed, at age 4 or 5.
This is way too young for kids to have a schedule of practices and games, let alone be involved in a sport that places them against others that could break prospective friendships. Youth coaches these days are more and more concerned with winning than they are concerned with everyone having a good time, and learning how to love the sport. Now each has a coach, and an agent, and a father or brother, and a fistful of sponsors separating them. Kids with a strong internal drive may thrive on the competition. But the pressure can be too much for others, particularly grade-schoolers who aren’t as equipped to deal with the stress as older athletes.
Many times today children get more upset about the outcome of the game, instead of how the individual played. Parents are major part for the youth’s life. It is the parent that has brought the child up and it is their duty, by nature, to mould the child into a young promising adolescent. I feel that is good for kid’s to be involved in sports but sometimes parents push kid’s to participate. Between practice, games and travel time, there is not much free time for family time, play time or study time. They need time to play with friends and develop social skills outside of organized sports. Do not turn them into a workhorse.
Realize that you cannot live your dreams through your child, and that they have dreams of their own. A parent should help a child set performance goals and develop a winning perspective and strive to instill a healthy level of competition. If kids don’t try other sports, how do they know whether or not they might like those sports more or be better at them? For many athletes their bodies are not completely developed. By playing at the speed of the higher conditioned and developed players in the professional league, young underdeveloped athletes run the risk of suffering an early career ending injury.
These opportunities, though, come at a cost. While young athletes are participating in intensive sporting education, their academic education may be neglected. Age effects take a greater approach to the physical side of the sports people body, as the older the sports person is, the more mature and developed their body is and the younger the person is the less developed they are. Training and traveling all year round takes its toll on children. Intense training schedules. Pressure to win and be the best. Painful injuries. Some will turn to steroids or other performance-enhancing substances to try to gain an edge.
And some may give up on sports and exercise altogether. They learn to challenge themselves physically yet never mentally. A child can suffer severe self-esteem issues from being pushed too hard at sports. The child will become uptight and nervous about his performance in the game. When a child plays sports from a young age and tries too hard, his body will not be able to handle it. It could cause his body to become warn out during the child’s teen years. Oftentimes the child’s emotional and social maturity will not match that of the older players.
It is usually best for your child to play with kids of the same age rather than push them up the ladder to play with older, usually more mature players. I think people are starting to realize how far the competitiveness has gone in sports. And I think that we are realizing that it has gone too far when we have children killing themselves to strive to be the best, taking drugs to try and obtain goals, eating disorders to make weights, and parents fighting making scenes in the stands. It is the responsibility of the adults overseeing the child’s physical, mental and emotional growth to insure the safety and well being of the child.