June 04, 2007

Try telling this one to the parents and coaches: .......Oh and by the way, good luck with a lot of the kids too!

posted by jojomfd1 to general at 11:08 PM - 19 comments

You know I can see the concern for some of the situations where the parents go overboard, and push their kids way too much. OTOH some kids like it that way it motivates them better. The biggest problem I had with this article is this paragraph: The pediatricians who wrote the report said aiming for the Olympics or a career in professional sports was unrealistic for most children. Less than 1 percent of high school athletes make it to the pros, the report said. I think that the kids should be told that it is a long shot to make it that far, but it doesn't have to be phrased like this. It is almost like these doc's are saying " hey it is so hard to make it to the pro's or the olympics, so why even try, chances are you're not in that 1%." Granted they may not be in that 1% but thats not for those doc's to decide.

posted by jojomfd1 at 11:15 PM on June 04, 2007

Well of course aiming for a professional career is unrealistic, but is that really the reason most kids play sport?

posted by Fence at 03:26 AM on June 05, 2007

No, but that's usually the reason the coaches and parents push them to ridiculous levels, which often results in injuries that will plague the kids long after the overzealous adult is gone.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 05:13 AM on June 05, 2007

I've never heard of any children being promised a career, or it even being hinted at ... Course it is different over here, what with the GAA being amateur and all, I suppose they get pushed towards playing for the county in that case. And of course the fact that I'm female probably reduced any "you can go professional" when I was childer :) I know my brother can't play rugby any more, he damaged his back playing at underage lever. Disk seepage, or something.

posted by Fence at 07:10 AM on June 05, 2007

I've never heard of any children being promised a career, or it even being hinted at Ever hear of the IMG Academies?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:22 AM on June 05, 2007

TBH while I agree with you about the injuries, I just don't agree with the blanket statement to all kids that this article sems to make, IMO. I just think it kind of tells the kids that they don't have to try as hard because they probably won't make it to that higher level of the sport. I believe sports can teach kids a lot about life, if coached properly, and to tell them that only a select few make it is wrong. We tell them they can be anything they want to be any other time (in school, at home, on TV etc...)

posted by jojomfd1 at 07:38 AM on June 05, 2007

I understand the logic of taking at least a day or two off during the week, so that children don't overuse their muscles. However, I would like to see the scientific basis for the advice to take two or three months away from a particular activity every year. Are they just trying to discourage parents from pushing their kids too hard or is their some physiological reason why such a break is necessary?

posted by bperk at 08:46 AM on June 05, 2007

bperk, dunno about the science, but anecdotally...a ski racing coach I know feels strongly that he wants the kids he works with to be playing a variety of sports, not just skiing and doing skiing-related drills and dryland. He feels that they're not aided in any way by specialization at a young way, and at the point where it starts to make sense for some gifted athletes to devote a large percentage of their time to the sport, they've also got an idea about how far they could go with it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:02 AM on June 05, 2007

I started playing organized football when I was five. While I didn't suffer any broken bones in the game until I was 13, I did play through some pretty bad bruises, muscle pulls, etc. I wasn't pushed by my family to play, but the pressure was there from other teammates, parents and coaches to play through it. I'm not even necessarily saying it was a bad thing -- you learn to play hurt early or you're just not going to be playing at all later -- but it was there. As for lbb's point, I couldn't agree more. I gained some thing from every sport I played, even if I only excelled in two of them, and at the very least, one sport kept me in shape for the next. There's another, subtler downside to the specialization that seems so rampant. I was the head coach for a Junior American Legion team is southern Illinois for two seasons, and one of my players was an extremely gifted centre fielder. He was around 6-2, 190 pounds, ran like the wind, very strong arms, good instincts and reactions, a solid and improving hitter -- and threw the ball in the mid 80s with no pitching training. He also was pushed from a pretty early age to specialize in basketball. It wasn't that the kid wasn't a good basketball player. He was, and he ended up playing DIII ball. But this kid could have been at least a lower DI baseball prospect, or maybe drafted in baseball. He loved basketball, and that's terrific -- but he was never really given a chance to love anything else. I think it cost him a chance to play professionally.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:24 AM on June 05, 2007

There are two key words in sports that children are seldom taught because the pressure to win overshadows them....they are "play" and "game". When kids are allowed to play a game, life is a lot more fun.

posted by jazzdog at 12:09 PM on June 05, 2007

"I've never heard of any children being promised a career, or it even being hinted at Ever hear of the IMG Academies?" Sorry, I meant children I knew personally, or even about second hand. My lack of clarity there.

posted by Fence at 03:39 PM on June 05, 2007

Great article, brings much good discussion. Stretching will prevent injury, before and after including in between the games and practices. But you get injured from just about anything in life, so do YOGA! Secondly in order to rebuild muscle burnt from athletics, eat proper nutrients, including vitamins (organic if at all possible). When I coached most parents and kids really did not understand all this. It is a lifestyle choice that will pay off in the long run.

posted by sap_basis at 04:35 PM on June 05, 2007

I've read and heard many times that athletes, at least from the middle school level onward, should be encouraged to compete in more than one sport. If the sports chosen use dissimilar skills and muscle groups, all the better. This helps the kids form burning out on one sport, helps build more muscle groups than just a single sport would, and sometimes the skills learned in one sport can be applied to the other. The nearly year-round participation in a single sport for a young athlete is not healthy.

posted by Howard_T at 10:25 PM on June 05, 2007

If I had a dollar for all the times someones has enlightened me about how tough it is for kids to play professional sports, well, I'd be rich as a professional athlete. To me, a big part of supporting kids in their athletic dreams is to teach them life lessons like: to achieve a dream takes lots of work - and a little luck, you don't get cut - you cut yourself, and lots of people will explain to you why you will fail. I ignored all of these people and have had both my son's ignore them too. Both have a shot (I know, I know - a small shot) to play professional ball. If they do not achieve their dream, they both have a Plan B, and will have learned another valuable life lesson. The possibility of failure is not a reason not to try. Agree completely, about the specialization issue - kids don't need to specialize very early at all, just leads to burnout.

posted by sfts2 at 10:43 AM on June 06, 2007

sfts2, since you're a parent and have that perspective, maybe you can talk to this: what would your reaction be if one of your kids came to you tomorrow and said, "I don't want to play any more"?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:13 PM on June 06, 2007

Well, lbb, if it's me, I slap them in the mouth. Daddy wants to make t-shirts about how wicked his kids are (and by proxy, how obviously wicked I am). No quitting until a patella tendon snaps, or whathaveyou. Sure, some say it's tough love and probably a little sociopathic (but on the lower end of the sliding scale of sociopathy), but those Range Rovers with the interiors I'm thinking of don't pay for themselves.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:42 PM on June 06, 2007

I wonder how many people who are "dissapointed" atthe idea of intrducing a note of reality to ambitions of sports stardom would be "dissapointed" at kids being reminded that hardly anyone who picks up a musical instrument gets to be a rock star.

posted by rodgerd at 02:04 PM on June 06, 2007

Well, lbb, if it's me, I slap them in the mouth. I hope you're not telling us that there are little Weedys running around out there somewhere.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:38 PM on June 06, 2007

I hope you're not telling us that there are little Weedys running around out there somewhere. I think he refers to them as "Little Smokeys."

posted by hawkguy at 05:04 PM on June 06, 2007

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.