Sport Specialization For Kids
Jack Malley, sports dad, coach, and author of “Meet The Lunatics Who Run Your Kids’ Sports Leagues,” says he’s made quite a few mistakes as a sports dad and coach.
But allowing his kids to specialize was not one of those mistakes.
For example, Malley once became irked at an opposing coach for putting a goalie in the goal when that coach’s team was down by 15 points. Goalies were against league rules, so Malley spoke up after the goalie blocked his son’s shot. But once the words came out of Malley’s mouth, he realized he was being over the top. After all, Malley’s team was ahead by 15 points!
“When I saw the expression on the other coach’s face, I felt horrible,” he says.
The point, of course, is that all parents and coaches get irked sometimes. They’re only human and watching our kids play sports is a very emotional experience.
But sometimes we get too wrapped up in our kids’ sports teams-in ways that hurt their mental game, says Malley. And specialization is one example.
His own son played numerous sports at the age of 9 and 10. A few coaches suggested that they didn’t like the fact he played more than one sport-especially if it took place during the same season as their sport.
“At age 9 or 10, he was asked to select a sport,” says Malley.
But early specialization is not good for kids, he maintains. Too often, kids who specialize at the age of 9 or 10 drop out by the time they are 13. What’s more, they’re more likely to be prone to overuse injuries, he says.
Malley has a number of great tips for sports parents and coaches in the audio interview he conducted for Kids’ Sports Psychology-including when it makes sense to specialize. Exclusive members of Kids’ Sports Psychology can listen to it here:
To listen to the first half of this interview, use the player below:
Exclusive members also have access to videos, ebooks-some written for kids, others for parents and coaches–articles, additional audio interviews-and much more!
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P.S. When does it make most sense for sports kids to specialize? Exclusive members of Kids’ Sports Psychology can listen to Malley’s take on it here:
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