So I figured that in my last column (KidsPost ends after tomorrow), I’d write about what I know about children’s sports.
● Children should not play a sport year-round until high school. Young athletes should participate in a variety of sports so they can have fun and avoid burnout and overuse injuries.
It’s not just me talking. The American Academy of Pediatrics — a well-respected group of children’s doctors — advises against sports specialization. Parents and coaches should listen to them.
● Kids can have fun without traveling to distant tournaments. If you don’t believe me, think about what the kids say.
A George Washington University study identified 81 factors (called fun determinants) that make exercise fun. They asked young athletes to rate how important each event was to their enjoyment of organized sport. Players ranked “going to a game” and “going somewhere new” as the 58th and 71st most important entertainment determinants.
● Children and their parents should be more realistic about the chances of receiving college athletic scholarships. My son is the head baseball coach at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. His parents often asked him, “How good are you at playing Division I college baseball?”
Liam explained that high school baseball teams typically have about 16 players. Only 3% of high school baseball players go on to play in college. There are fewer games at the highest (Level 1) level. “So,” Liam told his parents, “your son should be the best player in almost every game he plays in.”
Same goes for most sports. I don’t mean to dissuade anyone, but it’s better to enjoy your team and the game right now than focus on playing in college or the pros.
● Be grateful. Kids are lucky to play sports and have fun. So be sure to thank your coaches, umpires, and all the parents who brought snacks.
With that advice, I would like to thank the folks at The Washington Post for letting me write for KidsPost. I hope we help some kids become lifelong readers.
Finally, I would like to thank all my editors, especially my current editor, Christina Barron. They are all top-notch professionals.
My last piece of advice to all young readers? Keep reading and playing!
Bowen has written 27 sports books for children ages 7 to 12. His next book, Off the Bench, will be published in March.to know more information fredbowen.com website.