As the seasons change so do my sons’ sports interests. They focus all of their efforts on the sport of the season and when the season changes so does their focus; the previously obsessed over sport is pushed to the wayside and the new sport is practiced and played with fervor. When it is football season, it is hours upon hours of throwing the football back and forth, kicking the ball into the training net, and scoring touchdowns. When it is basketball season, it is hours upon hours of free-throws, three-pointers, dribble drills and one-on-one games. When it is baseball season, it is hours upon hours of throwing fly balls, grounders, line drives, running bases, and throwing into the practice baseball net (the boys are no longer allowed to use the bat in the backyard due to one broken second story window – this activity is reserved for the baseball field). When it is hockey season, it is hours upon hours of slap shots, face-offs, and penalty shots. Golf is an all-year-round sport here so they use their putters to practice putting and have put-offs. And this is just in our backyard. If there is a free weekend afternoon, they are at the Golf Club playing a round of 18 or practicing on the driving range, chipping green and putting green. When it is winter we make weekend trips to the snow for skiing.
Their ever changing passion means a lot of sports equipment, a congested backyard, and serious time commitments but I am grateful for their passion in so many different sports. They are only 6, I honestly don’t believe they are ready to commit themselves to just one sport. I think it is so important for children to experience a variety of different activities before making a decision to focus on just one thing. My husband and I really believe this is crucial for their development and keeping them well-rounded for the following reasons:
- it will keep them active;
- they will remain motivated because they are constantly trying to master a new task, shot or trick;
- it will improves their confidence;
- they will avoid injuries from over use and repetition of the same movement because different parts of their bodies are constantly being used;
- it will create a certain level of adaptiveness because of the variety (they must be patient during a long drawn out baseball game or they must have endurance for a fast paced basketball game);
- they won’t burnout from too much of one thing; and
- they will learn to interact with all different people and work as a team.
For now the boys will jump from sport to sport…they don’t need to be experts in one area just yet. When it is her time, Coconut, like her brothers, will try out all sports, and take dance and music classes so that she can keep her options open and make the decision to commit when the time is right or not.
What is your opinion, when is the right time to settle on just one sport? And, when is too soon?
Grant and Brooks are a walking sports advertisement. The look the part for each and every sport (except football, we only allowed the pads and helmet for Halloween, otherwise it is regular athletic gear, but the season is officially complete now that the SuperBowl is over and done with – so the footballs have been retired until next Fall).