The Sidney Crosby Effect
What are the PROS and CONS of organized sport for children?
Chances are if you live in Canada and you are a parent, your child(ren) play hockey during the winter months, does dry land training in the summer months along with other summer sports such as soccer, baseball and lacrosse. They might even have specific training for their sports such as, power skate, extra field time, power and speed development and play all year long. And this type of lifestyle can start as early as 6 years old. Are you tired just thinking about it?
What is organized sport? Wikipedia's definition states, "includes all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators." So the question is, is sport the most beneficial way for kids to improve their motor ability?
There is no arguing that sports can provide many benefits to kids, such as
- builds team cohesion and allows kids to work together for the same cause
- teaches commitment and dedication by keeping to a schedule for training
- builds lasting friendships
- improves gross and fine motor skills
- keeps kids active
So what is the problem here your asking yourself?
When did sport become 5 days a week of commitment, traveling to outside cities during the week for games, peak season training, off season training, training all the time!!!! Let me break it down for you. When adults come into the studio and want a personal trainer to train for an event such as a marathon, we create a specific program for them with rest and off days. We need to watch out for over training which can lead to:
- decrease in performance
- loss of muscle
- decreased immunity
- low desire to train or participate in said activity
When a child joins a hockey team at the age of 6 and is fairly decent, where is the certified trainer drawing up a specific training plan for them to avoid over training?? There is no one except the 'expectation' that you are going to join every training and possible opportunity to increase your child's performance-even if that means, there is NO BREAK.
There is a dark side to sport that rarely gets spoken about because every kid wants to make it to the NHL and every parent would do anything to help them get noticed. It's our culture and in my opinion it is getting out of hand.
What happens when your child does not want to participate in sport? Are they frowned upon? Will they fit in at school? Will they be accepted by their peers? Sadly, these are questions that 'non-sport' parents are faced with. But let's look at the facts.
Canada's Physical Activity guide recommends kids needs 60 mins per day of activity that can be broken into smaller intervals. They needs gross motor movement like jumping, kicking, throwing, and running. They also need fine motor movements like picking up balls, tying laces, pulling up socks and writing their name! Do we need sport for this? Nope...the old fashion method works great....running outside, climbing trees, and throwing rocks into a pond.
The point is that if your child does not like sport-it's OK!! As long as they are provided opportunties for movement they will succeed. And if your child wants to be the next Sidney Crosby, he/she does not need endless hours of training. Hire a professional to map out their fitness and specific sport plan so you do not over train them.
Whatever your child chooses, remember they are KIDS FIRST! Don't train your kids like adults!
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