There is a great little article/news story on NPR today about SAPT's realm: sports and kids who play them! Here's is the full article (it also has the audio story so if you prefer to listen...)
The gist of the story is about the likelihood of kids making it to the professional level in sports. There was also mention of a growing number of parents who are going overboard, to the detriment of their kids and the family as a whole, with pushing their kids in sports.
Now granted, as Tom Farrey who is the director of the Sports and Society Program at the Aspen Institute pointed out, there are definitely talented kids out there who love their sports and should be encouraged and supported and will absolutely do fantastically well. Michael Jordan comes to my mind...
But the vast majority of kids aren't going to make it. Here's a quote from Tom Farrey which I totally agree with.
"But for the vast majority of [professional] athletes, that's not their path," Farrey says. "They played multiple sports when they were young. It was not about chasing the college scholarship or becoming a pro; they were just enjoying the games and falling in love with sports."
It's that love of sports, Farrey says, that drives kids to keep playing and to become successful — not just their parents' dreams."
Even more telling, the NCAA has a handy chart about the likelihood of children competing beyond high school in several sports.
I've written about early sport specialization before and golly days, and as a strength coach I see so many kids who would really benefit from playing multiple sports AND having at least one season off during the year.
If kids want to be successful in the sporting world I recommend:
1. Play multiple sports- specialize in mid- to late-high school.
2. Strength train- strong athletes beat the weaker ones every time.
3. Take an off-season!
In the end, I'm not trying to point accusatory fingers at parents- I know they just want the very best for their kids. But hopefully, as the detrimental effects of early sport specialization for the majority of kids gains more and more attention, we'll see that trend reverse itself.