Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Let Them Be Kids

If you're a parent and your kid plays sports, this is for you.  At MVP Performance Training, the Long Term Development Model guides our practices.  More is not better.  I've got a short story for you and my perspective on "Travel Sports" and young kids.

I've been a High School Physical Eduction Teacher and Strength Coach for almost 20 years.  15 of those as a Baseball Coach(most as a Head Varsity Coach).  And the last 4 years owning and running MVP(along with my teaching duties).

Take a moment and listen to my experience.  

6 years ago, I had an opportunity to to travel with 2 of my assistant coaches, at the time, and good friends who where taking a group of 12 years olds to Cooperstown, NY to play in a prestigious baseball tournament.  The experience was one that I will never forget.  We visited Yankee Stadium, The Baseball Hall of Fame and we even drove 55 backwards on the freeway.  Thanks Rick and Dakota for that backwards experience.  But that is a whole different story.  This group of kids was talented.  The next "State Champs" if you asked their parents.

However,  of the team that we took, do you know how many of them that are still playing baseball as Seniors in High School this year?


That's right, Zero.

I'm not even talking about the injuies that arise(that's a topic for another blog), but just the kids that got burnt out.

I tell you this story only because recently the talk of travel athletic teams has come up quite a bit.  People think that young kids need to play more and travel all over the place.  They are very mistaken.  My oldest daughter, Anna, is 8 and it is already in front of her.  Parents and kids get sucked in by coaches feeding them a line of bullshit and they buy it hook, line and sinker. 

Quit it!!!  I speak from experience.

Kids need to play multiple sports locally, have fun, get stronger, and do all the things that young kids like to do. Run, jump, climb trees, play in the dirt, play sports and just have fun.  They don't need to play 50+ games at a young age.  No one is going to remember the 12U Champion anyway. 

If you're a parent and you're making your young kids play club soccer, volleyball, travel softball, basketball or whatever, take it from me, the statistics are against you.  You might think its a good thing now, but I've seen it all too often.  These boys, young men now, are good kids.  I still have contact with many of them daily in my classes.  They just got burned out and didn't want to play anymore.  Shocker!

It's a vicious cycle and I know it will continue.  I, as a parent however, and the experiences that I have had as a coach will guide me to do the things I said above.  My girls will play all kinds of sports locally,  ride their horses, play at MVP and just have fun. There is plenty of time ti get serious about training.

I ask my girls after each game/practice/activity:

"Did you do your best?" "Yes".

"Did you have fun?"  "Yes"

"Do you want to play next time?" "Yes"


Let them be kids!

Just my 2 Cents


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