Youth sports don’t look much like they did a decade or two ago. For one thing, they are a lot more difficult and demanding (i.e. less fun!). Many young athletes play all year long, and their parents are forced to invest large amounts of money toward specialized training, travel, and more. The really sad thing is that a big part of the reason parents feel compelled to do all these things is because they believe in common sports myths, things we’ve come to think about youth sports that aren’t even in the least bit true.
Below, you’ll learn about some of the most common and most devastating sports myths that many parents swear by. You can break the cycle by not continuing to believe in or promote these myths and by finding your child a sports team or league that doesn’t either!
Myth #1: Your Child Should Focus on One Sport and One Sport Only
You’ve probably had a coach tell you that if your child is going to be a successful athlete- maybe even a pro- he needs to focus all of his attention on his chosen sport, and lots of attention at that.
This information is just plain false on so many levels. First of all, if you only allow your little one to play one sport and force him to play and practice it non-stop, it’s almost guaranteed that he’ll experience “burnout,” which makes your child less likely to continue with sports at all, much less become a pro.
To make matters worse, many studies have shown that children who specialize in one sport have a much higher risk of injury, often due to overuse and overworking of their young, growing muscles.
And, believe it or not, college coaches and other industry pros actually PREFER young athletes who have multi-sport backgrounds. That’s because children learn more skills and become more well-rounded athletes and people by involvement in multiple sports, so ditch the solo-sport attitude, and allow your little one to explore his options!
Myth #2: Winning is Everything!
Sure, we all tell our kids, “It’s not whether you win or lose; it’s how well you play the game,” but do we ever really mean it? If we’re being honest with ourselves, most of us don’t. We’re too focused on success, winning, and trying to turn our children into professional athletes.
While it’s okay to want to win, it’s very important that you, as a parent, and your child’s coaches place the main focus of sports on playing, having fun, building skills, and learning and growing, NOT on winning. Focusing solely on winning is never a good thing, but it’s especially damaging to young athletes, who can’t cope with that type of pressure.