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Parents are wrong: professional sports since childhood. Is the game worth the candle?
It is quite natural that parents want the best for their children and do everything to ensure that the lives of their children are as successful as possible, so that their children achieve as much as possible. Sport is an excellent platform for realizing parental ambitions; everything that you could not achieve, your child can achieve. Therefore, parents sometimes concentrate too much on the sports development of their children.
Does a seven-year-old son take the ball well under his left? We will do everything to make him the new Ronaldo! Can a five-year-old daughter spin somersaults? Artistic gymnastics is her vocation! But how justified is such a child's immersion in sports? Wouldn't it harm him to put all his efforts into one sport only? Would he specialize too early in his future career?
Researchers from the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine state that early specialization in one sport does not necessarily lead to a successful career. This became clear during a survey conducted by the publication. Only 46% of the surveyed professional athletes specialized in one sport as a child, and only 22% would agree to do the same with their child. Professional athletes understand the dangers of early specialization. And that's why.
A child's body is much more susceptible to external influences than an adult's. Repetition of the same movements in training, the same exercises can very easily lead to traumatic muscle strain. If a child is constantly practicing smashes on the tennis court, they are much more likely to develop chronic elbow pain than if they alternate such exercises with exercises from another sport. A study by the same Orthopedic Journal showed that children who specialize in one sport from an early age are 50% more likely to get injuries associated with muscle strain than those who are involved in different sports sections. Indeed: there must be variety.
Mentally, children are also much weaker than adults. Specialization in one sport usually implies a further career in that sport; if a child almost every hour throws the ball into the basket under the vigilant supervision of a coach, then, most likely, parents are predicting a professional basketball career for their child. This can put too much pressure on the child; he can simply burn out, lose the desire to do what he does. Loss of fire and interest is a terrible thing. Children often do something just because they like it, because it makes them enthusiastic. Stress, lack of motivation, joylessness in training lead to disappointment and possible refusal to continue training.
Children are losing childhood
Childhood is one big study. Exploration of yourself, people nearby, the world around. Specialization in one sport by an order reduces the scale of the child's knowledge of life: he becomes too concentrated on training, which is why there is time for fun games, pranks, communication with peers, etc. may simply not be enough. Yes, becoming an Olympic champion is great, and winning gold at the Olympics without hard work at a very young age will not work, but having a normal childhood is no less great. Moreover, children who are focused only on one sport are more likely than others to leave it, as a result of which they lose not only the prospects of the Olympic podium, but also motivation in general.
Lack of comprehensive development
A child needs to develop comprehensively in all aspects of life. Including in the physical plane. Doing different sports makes a child more agile, stronger, more enduring, more athletic in the end! Many professional athletes in childhood and adolescence were engaged in more than just the sport in which they eventually built their careers. Moreover: there are many cases when an athlete was involved in various sports at a professional level!
It's great to be a universal athlete. Even in Ancient Greece, it was believed that one kind of athletics does not create a harmoniously developed person. Therefore, the pentathlon appeared. No, this does not mean that children should be sent en masse to the all-around section, but it is definitely worth encouraging them to engage in different sports. The more skills a child has in different sports, the easier it will be for him to concentrate on one thing later. In general, the foundation of one sport can help develop talent in another. Harmonious development is the key to success in many things; for a professional athlete, it is vitally important to have a harmoniously developed body.
So sports universalism also helps on a professional level - the development of different muscle groups is useful not only in childhood. Athleticism is highly sought after in sports; but universal athleticism is even more in demand. In almost all team sports today, the most important players are those who can perform multiple tasks at once. A destroyer and a creator in one person in football, a passer with a height of more than 200 cm in basketball, an extreme forward assistant in hockey, and so on. In our time, an athlete must be able to do everything. And this can be achieved only by versatile sports and athletic development in childhood. Therefore, many American football coaches are deliberately looking for such young players who would be, as they say, all-around athletes. This is just the simplest example. Now, almost everywhere for scouts and coaches, it is of paramount importance how a young prospect is multisport.
A few recommendations
As for parenting recommendations, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises to postpone sports majors until 15 or 16years, push the child to engage in various sports, give him a break from training - about three months a year and about two days a week. Everything is very simple and ingenuous.
The famous New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gave one more piece of advice during one of his interviews: let the children be children. When Brady was a kid himself, they played everything at school: when it was baseball season - they played baseball, when it was hockey season - they played hockey, when it was basketball season - they played basketball. And it was right - the children were well developed in terms of sports, and even enjoyed the variety of game processes.
They also explored and learned the wonderful world of sports. And this is the most important thing.