Sports Love & family

Learning Life's Lessons through Sports

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The Dilemma of the Multi-Sport Athlete…

If your child is nearing high school age, and is a multi-sport athlete, chances are you’ve had conversations about them specializing or choosing one sport over another. You’ve probably had these conversations with each other, with your child and with coaches. With so much emphasis on winning, the pressure for coaches to have high performing teams is insurmountable. Some high school coaches are putting pressure on players to dedicate time to only their sport, instead of spreading time between other sports. When faced with this situation, there’s a few things to consider.
First, consider the source. Are you having these conversations with coaches? Let’s remember many coaches motivation is self-serving (remember myself and husband coach and it’s not every coach). Most coaches are not looking out for your child, they are looking out for their team or even themselves. Take what the coach says with a grain of salt and know there’s another coach waiting in the wings to discuss their intentions for your child, and most likely it’s the opposite of what you just heard.
Another source to consider is friends of your child. I bet you’re discussing this with them as well. While other parents are great sounding boards, friends of your child’s or teammates are probably not the best ones to discuss this decision. Again, part of their intention is self-serving. They want the best for their child first. While I know they care about your kid, that comes second to their flesh and blood. Any decision you make could have an impact on their child and therefore they may not be helping.
Now, I’m not saying to cease conversations with coaches and friends of the family, but I am telling you to take their opinions at face value. I don’t preach advice often, but take my advice here, listen and discuss with these people, but in the end don’t do what they want.
And lastly, the absolute most important thing to consider, is your child. Your child’s emotional well-being, your child’s development. How will this decision affect them, in the short-term and long-term? Have very real and truthful conversations with your kid. To many people this decision seems inconsequential. And maybe in the big-picture of life it is. But, for the next four years of your child’s life this decision is immense!
To your child, the weight of this decision could mean the difference of a college choice, could mean the difference of being a collegiate athlete, could mean the difference of giving up activities they’ve done from the time they were a tiny tot. This decision could change their identity or who they think they are or are going to be. This decision can change the course of how they thought things in high school were going to play out. So, yes, to an outsider looking in, it appears this decision is small in scale. But, to your child, it is EVERYTHING right now.
When faced with the decision to commit to one sport or to continue being a multi-sport athlete take all things into consideration. Think about the focus and time and money that will be poured into one sport or multiple, if that’s the decision. Think about how to balance it all, or just how to balance the one and school. Think about what the next four years looks like and the end goal. But, most of all, think about how this decision will impact the one you love the most, the athlete, your child.

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Soak Up the Down Time

We believe in having our kids play as many sports as possible for as long as possible. Each of our kids play multiple sports. We’ve been told playing three sports in high school is virtually impossible, so we’re encouraging them to be multi-sport athletes now. Not only are there health benefits to this, but there’s a special time in between, it’s that precious time off during the transition from one sport to another.

Let’s face it, we schedule and overschedule our children. They are constantly on the go. So, when it comes time to transition from one sport to another we typically get 1-2 weeks off. For our family those weeks are precious…but they are also a curse!

Our kids need time to be just kids. To play outside with friends and even to play some video games. But, too much time in our household isn’t a good thing either! More time together also means more arguing! I guess that’s part of growing up too!

So, why is this a blog post? Well, transitions are part of life, and learning about life through sports is what we’re all about. I wanted to bring attention to this special time because as a family we feel it’s an important time. While each kid can learn valuable lessons on the field or court, the entire family can learn about life in the transition time.

We all know life flies by, so when we have these moments of pause, we need to do just that. Stop running from place to place. Put down our devices. These transitions are built into our lives so that we can take that time to recharge. We can take this time to reconnect with each other. We can take the time to appreciate all that we have.

So, if you’re like our family and have a hard time with the downtime during a transition, try to embrace it. Enjoy watching your kids play with their friends. Sit back as the arguments begin and then be grateful for the devices as they provide peace for everyone after. Embrace some quality family time or one on one time. And remember, these moments of good and bad won’t last forever so make the most of these times!