Role of Parents
Organized Sports Leagues
Organized leagues provide children with many potentially wonderful experiences and are generally run by caring volunteers who are giving back to the community.
Nevertheless, parents must be cautious about having sports teams as the only source of physical development for their children for several reasons:
- Missing skills. Organized sports coaching typically focuses on specific skills for the particular sport plus game strategy and competition. Many youth sport leagues do not help develop the key motor/performance skills (balance, coordination, agility, speed, power) needed for a child to reach their potential. Nor do they help children develop overall physical fitness (muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and body composition).
- Don’t specialize too soon. A single-sport focus before the age of 10 can lead to a failure to fully develop balanced physical functions and fluid motor movements, and can cause overuse injuries. Most experts feel it is better to develop broad skills than to specialize in a particular sport before puberty. Even for children who choose to specialize later on, they are likely to perform better if they "cross-train" at a younger age, rather than focus too early.
- Mixed coaching ability. Many coaches in local leagues, though well-intentioned, lack the time and often the skills to properly coach beginners in their sport.
- Competition can be a turn off. Organized sports leagues are increasingly competitive and often cater to the most talented athletes, which can leave the "average" child discouraged and dropping out.
Participating in one or more sports can be a great outlet and experience for most young people; however, we recommend complementing rec league participation with a program like our VWXY Sports Skills Program.