Dear Granddaddy, my wife wants our daughter to play only one sport year-round so she can keep up with her teammates, and I want her to play multiple sports. Dave B. – An old-fashion father.
Dave, this is your, your wife’s, and your daughter’s decision. I can’t decide for your family or even play referee on this one. However, what I can do is share with you a few things I have learned as a teacher and coach over the last two decades, and as a father of five kids who play sports.
When we were kids, it was normal to play different sports during the different seasons. Your wife is right, however, when she says that your daughter may not be able to keep up if she doesn’t specialize. Kids’ technical abilities are off the chart these days.
So how important is it that your daughter plays at an All-Star level? The chances of her playing college ball are very low, and anything beyond that is extremely unlikely. Still, if she has any dreams of playing at that elite level, she probably won’t be able to do it if she doesn’t specialize. Keep in mind, though, that specialization also brings sports specific injuries at younger ages.
If your daughter plays multiple sports, she’ll widen her circle of friends as different girls who play different sports and have different outside interests. She’ll also broaden her overall athletic abilities and team experiences. She’ll have opportunities to work on the kinds of things that come along with sports, like teamwork, communication, pushing through the fatigue, pain and fear, as well as a whole host of other positives.
Again, I can’t tell your family what to do, but please ask your daughter in a non-judgmental way what she really wants to do. What are her goals? Make sure that she is playing sports for her own reasons and not her parents’ reasons. While it’s true that kids don’t always know what’s best for them, pushing them to live our dreams instead of theirs is a recipe that is sure to backfire at some point.
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