One of the fastest growing trends in sports is to develop multiple, yet complementary, athletic skills. In fact, parents should encourage their kids to at least try other sports, because you never know if you excel at something until you try. While there are many benefits to the cross-training aspect of managing multiple sports, you have to keep things organized.
Saying “No” to Specialized Sports
As you already know, even elementary athletic programs are quite competitive. Eager coaches searching to build the best team for next season sometimes suggest that their team invest in off-season specialized skills training. They may even have a network of year-round leagues they recommend for their athletes. However, parents must step in to say “No.” Publications from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine have warned against overuse injuries, which are often the result of playing a singular sport. By playing multiple sports, kids can still remain active but will place less stress on their bodies. This is particularly important under the age of 10, while a rapid rate of development is still occurring.
Finding Time to Rest Between Seasons
The next challenge arises when athletic seasons overlap or are scheduled back-to-back. While this might be exciting for your young athlete, it is also important to find time to rest between seasons. Even if the primary muscle groups vary from one sport to the next, kids’ bodies require at least two to three weeks of downtime between seasons. If a full break isn’t possible, talk to the coach about light skills training to provide overused muscles time to repair. To help determine the amount of rest muscles require, many young athletes are adding seasonal or as-needed visits with a sports medicine physician to their routine.
Managing Schedules and Cost
As a parent, you want to support your student’s athletic aspirations. Even if they aren’t a star athlete, the social, emotional and cognitive benefits of participating in athletics is immeasurable. However, you must do the math before agreeing. Athletics are increasingly expensive, and with multiple kids participating in multiple extracurricular activities, it can really break the bank. Aside from the financial obligation, scheduling can be quite stressful. You can ease the stress by joining or organizing a carpool, but there will be times where it’s just impossible to be two (or three) places at once. This means you might miss some or all of a game, or even that students can’t participate in all the extracurricular activities they desire.
Extracurricular Activities Further Complicate Things
In addition to their athletic aspirations, your student may also have creative or academic activities they wish to participate in. The fact of the matter is, they won’t be able to do it all. This will require you to sit down together and prioritize their extracurricular activities. For example, during debate season they may not be able to play a sport. To maintain their endurance and physical activity, they can always pop into Competitive Edge a few times a week.
Last but not least if there is a shift to more stress than fun or your student is showing signs of burnout, it’s time to scale back a bit.
Competitive Edge aims to develop the “complete athlete” using performance sports training in Woodbridge, VA and surrounding areas. Members are able to enhance their athletic performance and develop a competitive edge to excel in their desired sport.