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Comments about ‘Guest commentary: Kids don't need to train — they just need to play’

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Published: Monday, July 28 2014 2:14 p.m. MDT

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PacificCreek
Puyallup, WA

No Kidding!! Youth sports have become junior professional leagues with parents expecting their child to become the next Jordan, Mantle or Montana. The leagues play off the parents and the desired college scholarship down the road. I have seen many families take this path and watch how youth (KIDS!!) sports come to dominate lives. Forget playing multiple sports as well. Soccer, swimming, baseball, track and basketball all go year round. It is a consistent profit center for the leagues as well. If the kids are always playing, they are always paying! The offshoot of this is that only middle classed or above kids can afford to play sports. I even saw this in Hawaii on vacation a few weeks back. We were at the beach watching the competitive outrigger canoe teams. All the participants were rich (mostly white) and the team was based on the most expensive beach on the island. Not a native in the bunch! I have a couple of children who have been good enough to go to the next level but we decided that it wasn't fair to the rest of the family to let their sports dominate all our lives.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

this is a double edged sword. My son ...at age 13...joined Utah Baseball Academy and from that point on baseball was year round for him. His skill level improved dramatically. Every year my son got better and better and finally in High School made the first team all-region and second team all-state teams. I can say without question his baseball expertise was due to club ball ...the skill training + the physical teaching and training. Keep in mind those who ran the clubs taught proper technique which not only allowed a boy to reach his potential but also kept him from getting injured due to poor technique.

now the other side of the sword. In high school my son started to develop lower back problems due to the year round work load he had been experiencing for the past 5 years. Simply put - his body just wasn't wired for that much work. It took lots of Icy-Hot to get him ready to play each week.

So - if you iliminate the year round club ball boys will not develop the skill level they would have otherwise and injury will happen anyway due to poor technique.

Mom of 8
Hyrum, UT

I had a freshmen college student who had played softball since she was 6, mostly as a pitcher. By the time she was 18, she had severe shoulder problems. When she threw it out again at a casual practice just one month into her college career (which her parents had pushed her aggressively into), the doctor said she needed surgery and major therapy.

Her parents were devastated.

My student was elated.

She'd been so burned out of year-round playing, and all she wanted to do was focus on her studies and be something more than just a ball player.
She got her wish, the painful way.

Rural sport fan
DUCHESNE, UT

You know...I'm not sure year round training helps them learn a technique any better than 4 months of training. All it does let them get a lot more repetitions, which eventually leads to injury. If they are doing poor technique in shorter seasons, it's because of poor coaching or poor athleticism, not the time constraint.

The year round training might let them learn MORE techniques, as they have more time...but how many techniques are there to swinging a bat or throwing a ball? Talk about burn out. Success at year round training is more about the situations and experience than it is about techniques and skills, and you don't have to pitch 120 games a year to experience those situations. I learned more about keeping my head up on tackles in recess than I ever learned with a helmet on.

Too many kids are getting stuck in a sport they pay to play, when the fact is they may have been better off in another sport, but never had time to discover it or develop the skills.

Let your kid play.

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