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Try Everything This Summer!

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  • Posted: May 9th, 2017

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    By: Skyhawks

    This article was written by Skyhawks Franchise Owner Brett Gardner and is cross-posted from Redwood City Parks, Recreation & Community Sevices blogClick Here To View The Original Aricle.

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    Much has been written over the past several years about specializing in one sport vs. letting kids play as many sportsas possible. There is all this literature that benchmarks what age kids should be when they specialize. I come down firmly in the camp of NEVER. Unless your child is an elite gymnast or dancer, there is no argument to be made for specializing in a sport. Ask professional athletes how many of them “specialized” in the sport they now play. I’d hazard a guess that the answer is none.

    But, sports have gotten really out of hand thanks to the business model behind competitive sports. Coaches are hired to develop players for college sports programs. That’s what they are paid to do. I hear parents talking about this even with a team of eight-year-olds!

    If you are reading this and you have teenagers, I hope you’re nodding your head in agreement. Parents of younger children, read on. Sports is not a career for your child. It’s an activity and it should be one of many.

    But, more importantly, not all kids like sports. As the parent of two very athletic children and the owner of a company that runs sports camps, I should be shouting from rooftops about the benefits of sports. But, I have also seen what happens when kids are pushed too hard.

    I am a big believer in the “try everything” model of parenting. You never know what’s going to stick. When my kids were little, we tried it all — from ball sports to gymnastics to theater to martial arts to dance.  Some of it stuck and much of it didn’t. The questions we asked our kids were, “was it fun?” and “did you learn anything worthwhile?” Next, we asked them if they wanted to do that activity again.

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    With child number one, the answer was invariably, yes. With the other one, it was almost always, NO! Different kids, different interests. Even though child number one seemed to like everything and child number two seemed to hate most things, I still think the try everything model was good for both of them.

    With limited time during the school year, we often used summer camps to let our kids try different activities. Many families didn’t understand why we would do this. If my daughter was “an athlete,” why weren’t we sending her only to sports camps? She plays ball sports nine months out of the year. Does she really need more sports at age eight? We thought it was far more important for her to experience different things. So we encouraged her to try science camps, cooking lessons, etc. She loved some of them and was less enthusiastic about others. But, she got to try something new, which was the most important thing.

    As summer is looming, think about things your kids have never done before.  It could be a new sport, like flag football. Or, it could be dance or robotics. Try everything. You just never know what will stick!

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