Everyone that has kids can see it everywhere: More and more kids are concentrating on one sport. Athletics are not like they were twenty years ago when kids played one sport for 2-3 months and then moved onto the next. We see it with our kids friends, and it's growing more and more each year. For example, it's not like young Timmy got tired of soccer and basketball and only wanted to concentrate on baseball. Timmy is only 12 years old. What does he know? Does he think he's going to make it to the Big Leagues and make millions of dollars? The chances are very remote and young Timmy can't yet grasp that concept, anyway. He's a kid. So why does he now only play one sport? If you don't think his parents had anything to do with it, then you're living in another world. Parents need to realize that kids are kids. If you honestly think that at age 12, that you can identify a world class athlete, then you should be working as a professional scout. Parents of young kids have all the power to encourage other sports rather than just one. If a kid is 15 years old and only wants to play one sport, then he is probably old enough to make that decision.
Of course, there are those that will say that their kid doesn't like any other sports and he loves the sport he plays all year long. For those families, we encourage you to do your research and think more in the long-term. I've included an article below for parents from www.usnews.com just to give parents a few things to think about.
Playing team sports is a great way to teach kids life lessons about leadership, teamwork and how to socialize with peers. Sports are also a great way to build self-esteem and gain physical skills. Most important, they're fun.
But too many -- nearly three-quarters of young athletes -- are specializing in just one activity as early as 7 years old, even playing on numerous league-level teams.
This puts them at risk for injury, stress, burnout and eventually abandoning sports, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). About 70% drop out by age 13 for such reasons as pressure to perform or, conversely, not getting enough playing time. And at least half of athletic injuries are related to overuse. On the other hand, playing multiple sports offers benefits such as fostering a love of different activities that can last their entire lives.
To keep kids in the game, the AAP suggests encouraging them to play multiple sports until at least age 15. To lessen the risk of injury, they need one or two days off every week.
If the decision has been made to specialize in a single sport, both parents and child should have a discussion with the child's pediatrician to evaluate whether the young athlete's goals are appropriate and realistic. Keep in mind that barely 1% of high school athletes get scholarships, and only a fraction make it to the pros.
Kids who do specialize should take one-month breaks from their sport, ideally at three different times each year, while pursuing other activities. Parents should watch out for too much pressure being placed on those in elite sports programs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about sports and kids.