I am NOT a fan of athletes specializing in a sport early (ie. before their late teens, ideally not before the end of high school)
But this is happening more frequently in more sports than ever in the US. So parents need some education on how to maximize this situation and help your young athlete reach their potential.
- Get your child involved early in martial arts, gymnastics or dance. If your athlete is past this point, ie. already specialized, then find a way to get them into a basic martial arts program for 3-6 months of the year.
- Develop a foundation of strength outside of sport. Get them into a program outside of the school, focused on young athlete development, or enlist the services of your High School Strength and Conditioning coach.
- Allow your kids to play: get out, have fun, enjoy themselves. Give them some freedom in their schedule as many specialized athletes are currently obligated down to the hour year round!
All it takes is a few times/week of these things, either in rotation over the course of different seasons or maybe all three during their off-season (yes your child NEEDS to have an off-season!).
If you’d like more information on how to get the most for your young athlete, please reach out and I’d be happy to help: