As the Director and an owner of a sports performance facility, I am always cognizant that we can be part of the problems in youth sports. Too much pressure, early specialization, over use and repetitive stress injuries. If we don’t stick to our guns we can contribute to these problems.
We have classes for 7 yr olds. We call it sports fundamentals. They learn basic skills like catching, striking, kicking, and basic locomotor skills. Most importantly its fun!
You have to remember also, that by the nature of training youth athletes, we attract some of the most unbalanced parents. I say unbalanced because they want the best for their kids (in theory) but the way they go about it can become detrimental.
A case in point called our facility the other morning. It was the parent of a 7 year old soccer player. The child had a knee injury. When dad was unhappy with the therapy, he began doing it himself.
Now he wants private speed, one on one training lesson for this budding Beckham. Of course, he’s advanced for his age.
We hear those things far to often. This one had taken it to a new level. The parent recognized that two much stress and strain on the young players body wouldn’t be good. So he took the next logical step and cut out some of the physical activity.
By restricting him from playing on the playground at recess and lunch at school. He cut out play because it was impacting training!
No matter how “talented” this kid is, the chances are he’s hurt or burnt out by high school.
We have to be part of the solution. Educate parents and coaches. Introduce them to the benefits of physical play. Be a positive coahing example in your community and in each young athletes life.