123

Is it the end of the multi-sport athlete? (Read 227 times)


A Saucy Wench

    When I grew up, most of the athletes in my high school played more than one sport, many even excelled at more than one sport.  And most sports had one and only one season per year.

     

    Here, by 3rd  grade, kids are really expected to specialize.  Soccer plays 3 out of the 4 seasons 4 days per week, swimming is year round 4-6 days per week , baseball is 3 of the 4 seasons 3-5 days per week.   By 4th grade, the summer seasons are no longer optional if you want to be on the team the other times.  The sports are arranged in a way that it is incredibly difficult to play more than one sport.

     

    Is this everywhere now?  I get that the teams are more competitive this way.  Certainly our 4th grade soccer teams didnt have the skills that the kids have now.  But sheesh.  Where is the chance to try different things?

     

    My 1st grader wants to play baseball in the spring after playing soccer the last  2 years.  We are going to do it, but we've already been told by BOTH sports what a bad idea this is.  He'll "get too behind in soccer to stay competitive" and he is already " too far behind in baseball to catch up".  Seriously?  He needed to commit to baseball before kindergarten?

     

     

    And of course, ironically, while the town is trying to promote "keep kids active" the uber competitiveness is making the "just for fun" leagues die out.  Non-tryout rec soccer this year was so short players that 9 year old kids were playing against 13 year old kids in other towns just to make a full team.   The message loud and clear is that if you are not a gifted athlete, by 3rd grade you better just quit.

    I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

     

    "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7

      ..... The message loud and clear is that if you are not a gifted athlete, by 3rd grade you better just quit.

       

      I've struggled with this subject for many years.  My oldest son is 20.  He's not 'gifted' athletically.  He's good, but not gifted.

       

      He had an identity crisis after middle school since he was unable to play sports in our super competitive 4000+ student highschool.

      He was good at baseball, but played only 2 of the 3 seasons in any given year, and played on the 7th best select team in the city in his age group (no chance to play in highschool).

      He was good at basketball, but could only jump an inch off the ground.  Also, tryouts for basketball were on the first day of highschool, and we didn't know about it... ugh!!!

      He's a good volleyball player, but the school didn't have a volleyball team.

      He couldn't run cross country / track due to a then-undiagnosed medical condition.  Now he runs relatively slow and enjoys running 5k and 10k races.

      Bottom line is that he was good athletically, but couldn't compete with those that could compete.

       

      For my other son (born 10 years later and currently 10 years old), we have put all our eggs in the swimming basket.  He's swimming year round and a very good swimmer.  His coach is currently a TeamUSA coach who travelled to London in 2012 and Barcelona in 2013 with the big swimming names.  He loves swimming, and we've decided to encourage him in this non-traditional sport and focus on it over the next few years.

      He can still throw a baseball and bounce a basketball, but he's not on a traditional stick and ball team.

       

      He's looking forward to his first sprint triathlon in a few months though, and that's how he still qualifies as a 'multi-sport athlete' Smile

      2014 Goals:

      #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

      #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

       

        That sounds extreme, Ennay. I see some pressure to specialize too early in some sports where I live but there are still in-town leagues for kids who don't want to do travel. Kids can play travel teams without playing year round. Most high school athletes play multiple sports.

         

        And the pendulum may be swinging back the other way in some cases. USA Hockey now actively encourage kids to play other sports.

         

        Dance is way worse!

        Runners run.


        Needs more cowbell!

          I was surprised to see it's like this in our area, too...but it seems to depend upon the sport and the district.  Where we previous lived football was king and kids played nearly year-round.  The girl across the street from us is a grade ahead of DS and plays basketball year-round and was training with HS kids before she even started 8th grade.  Sounds like this is sort of standard.

           

          We've really not pushed our son towards team sports at all.  I think eventually he'll really come to like (perhaps love) running and cycling competitively, but at least these are things he can do on a solo basis and not feel any sort of pressure to perform for a team.  In 7th grade he's just not all that motivated to do much with anything athletic and has more interest in band and robotics competition in the future.

          I shoot pretty things! ~

          '14 Goals:

          • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

          • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

          GC100k



            Is this everywhere now? 

             

            Yes.  Been that way for a generation or more now.  I read a bunch of books on it about 10 years ago and lamented it, but it is what it is.

             

            My son's basketball coach told him and me every week that he was behind because he played football.  He loved football, but obligingly quit.  He never did play much in bball (biggish school, 900 graduating class).  I'm not bitter, but I didn't cry when his coach got arrested a couple weeks ago for hooking up with 14 year old girls.

             

            The track coach grabbed him after basketball practice one day to see what he could do and he ended up winning 5 individual state championships, being metro area MVP, state meet MVP, setting a state record, and is now on a D1 track program.  So it worked out okay.

             

            Our 6th grade girls are in swimming and we're trying hard to not take it too seriously.

             

            btw, my son ended up being recruited for football even though he didn't play it.

             

            I despise the youth sports system.  Just let the kids play                   Bob Bigelow


            MoBramExam

              Another argument to encourage kids to participate in individual sports (running, swimming, wrestling, tennis, etc.)  Opportunities to compete are readily available, and if they wish to compete at the high school level, there is no subjectivity in team selections.

               




              A Saucy Wench

                Another argument to encourage kids to participate in individual sports (running, swimming, wrestling, tennis, etc.)  Opportunities to compete are readily available, and if they wish to compete at the high school level, there is no subjectivity in team selections.

                 

                actually swimming is the worst of the bunch here.  By 4th grade it is every day so you can't do any other activities at all.  At least with soccer both my kids take dance and piano

                 

                And no way will we do wrestling.   Neighbors 9 year old kid was skinny and given crap about gaining weight when he grew 2 inches over the year

                I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

                 

                "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7


                MoBramExam

                  4th grade?  9 year olds?  Those coaches get away with that crap only because they are allowed.

                   

                  Eventually, If a kid can swim faster than everyone else, or if the kid can pin everyone else in their weight class, they will "play" in high school, college, etc.  They do not need these "select teams" to excel in the future.  There are other ways to develop individual talent.

                   



                    Another argument to encourage kids to participate in individual sports (running, swimming, wrestling, tennis, etc.)  Opportunities to compete are readily available, and if they wish to compete at the high school level, there is no subjectivity in team selections.

                     

                    There is politics at every level in every sport.

                     

                    The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff

                     

                    2014 Goals:

                     

                    Stay healthy

                    Enjoy life

                     

                       

                      There is politics at every level in every sport.

                       

                      It'a not just politics. These are still team sports. In my senior year of HS I won the wrestle offs at both 152 and 160. I wanted to wrestle 152 but coach had me wrestle at 160 in order to put the best team forward. Initially I was pissed but as the season wore on I knew he was right. We had a great team that year and I had a pretty good year too.

                       

                      Don't we see some of the same strategy in track too. I never ran a proper 800 despite wanting to. I wanted to and could beat guys who did but wouldn't have scored any points. Instead coach put me on the sprint medley  because that's where I could actually help the team score points.

                        I think for most practical purposes it is. However, I think if a kid is a superior athlete, depending on school size, it can be done but can be a struggle.

                         

                        I played 3 sports in HS and I cherish my memories of each. After each season, we had one week off then on to the next.

                         

                        In a smallish town in south central NH for the 2010-2012 school years, my kids all played 3 sports on the middle school teams, soccer, basketball, baseball/softball. If we had stayed in that town, I'm pretty sure they would have been able to play and really contribute on that town's high school teams as they aged, but we moved to Naples FL and a 2,000 kid HS and that school really seems to discourage multi-sport athletes, or I should say, does little to accommodate them. So my Sophomore son is moving up the basketball ladder currently on JV and, since Freshman team tryouts last year in October, he has been involved in some way in school ball whether spring, summer or early fall tournament teams organized by the school and coaching staff or off season workouts with the coaching staff. This went right up until JV try outs two weeks ago. My son wants to play lacrosse for the school this spring but I'm a little concerned that might be a black mark against him with the bball coaches since he will be missing some bball work outs and tournaments.

                         

                        My now Freshman daughter somehow became one of the best girl XC runners in the state this fall. As that season wound down, soccer tryouts started.,,so she would go straight from XC practice to soccer tryouts. As a freshman, I knew she would not make varsity if she waited to the supplemental tryouts after fall sports ended (soccer is a winter game here, weird). She made the team. Finally, as the XC post season arrived, the AD and I agreed that he would tell the soccer coach no more practices or games for her until after the state finals. Of course, I think  it would have been nice for the soccer coaching staff to recognize that for themselves.

                          "LOOK. If you don't get your 3 year old in CiCi's class, you're basically THROWING AWAY your kids dance future."

                          I'm sitting there mouth agape:  I just wanted her to have a bit of fun! The only concern I have about her future at this point is that she finds happiness!  What dance future?

                           

                          Programs are expensive and they specialize so young.  What happened to good old fashioned having fun with it?  Truly rec things seem gone.

                           

                           

                          Dance is way worse!

                          PR's (certified courses)

                          5K-; 21:45 ; 10K- 45:17; Half: 1:41 --- full : 3:40   (2009)

                          Distance - 54 mi, 10 hours (2012)

                           

                          Current Weight: 185 lb

                          Goal Weight: 130 lb

                             

                            My 1st grader wants to play baseball in the spring after playing soccer the last  2 years.  We are going to do it, but we've already been told by BOTH sports what a bad idea this is.  He'll "get too behind in soccer to stay competitive" and he is already " too far behind in baseball to catch up".  Seriously?  He needed to commit to baseball before kindergarten?

                             

                             

                             

                            Roll eyes

                             

                            Bet kids would have better long term development with some variety.  Maybe not be the best 9 year old player they could be... but when it matters

                            PR's (certified courses)

                            5K-; 21:45 ; 10K- 45:17; Half: 1:41 --- full : 3:40   (2009)

                            Distance - 54 mi, 10 hours (2012)

                             

                            Current Weight: 185 lb

                            Goal Weight: 130 lb

                            ShuffleFaster


                               

                              Roll eyes

                               

                              Bet kids would have better long term development with some variety.  Maybe not be the best 9 year old player they could be... but when it matters

                               

                              ^^This

                               

                              I can think of at least 3 NFL tight ends whose skills they learned while playing basketball help make them the feared players they are.

                               

                              Also, I think there are some studies that show that kids that specialize too soon are much more prone to overuse injuries.  Anecdotally, we've seen lots of my kid's peers who already have stress fractures at very young ages.

                               

                              Finally, to Ennay's point:   I think that trend is a real shame.   I suspect that part of is that hardly any kids I know just play outside in the street anymore--it always seems to be in the context of some organized league.  I'm glad I grew up in the era of street hockey pickup games, asphalt football, over the line, etc.

                                Here in the Northwest Bubs of Chicago, you can certainly find the ubber competive leagues and specialize at a very young age. However, it's also quite possible to ignore all that and still do many different sports and the house leagues.  It's only if the parents buy into that crap that you have to start early and play all year around or you'll get behind.

                                 

                                It use to be that the travel teams were for the really good kids and it was after the house leagues. Now, there seems to be more house leages and the talent level is pretty watered down.  Really, all they've done is moved the kids from one league to anoher, and convince the parents that it's worth the substantially extra money.

                                123