Some parents make the mistake of encouraging their children to take up a specific sport at such an early age. They send their child to various sports clinics and athletic development programs, and hire the best private coach to ensure their child’s success. Unfortunately, this practice may do more harm than good for the child.
An intense, laser-like focus on one sports can cause injury and put a lot of pressure on the child, causing him or her to lose interest early on. To prevent sports injury, burnout, and social isolation, make sure to do the following:
Encourage the child to diversify.
Even if the child is showing a lot of promise and is performing really well at one discipline, encourage him or her to play in other sports that do not utilize the same repetitive movement as their chosen sport.
If your kid is a member of the football or basketball team, encourage him or her to go swimming, hiking, or biking. The variety prevents them from losing interest quickly or dropping out entirely from sports. These activities provide plenty of opportunity for kids to just be kids and to goof around, instead of being serious and competitive all the time.
Think about your reasons.
Why do you want your child to specialize in sports? Is it for your child’s success in college? Is it for their sake, or for your sake? Considering the huge number of youth athletes, the odds of “making it” to college and professional sports are small, so be realistic and make sure you know where your kid’s potential stands.
This is the moment when you need to listen to your child. What is it that they want to do? What activity brings them the most joy?
Keep an eye out on your child’s health.
Sports specialization can lead to overuse injuries. When children participate in only one sport, they repeatedly stress the same group of muscles, tendons, joints, and bones. These injuries can lead to a consultation with a San Diego pediatric orthopedic surgeon.
It would be best for your child to undergo sports specialization during late adolescence. By that time, your child has realized their full potential and would know what it is they really want.