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Since I started iSport360, it doesn’t take long for friends to quickly turn social conversations to the topic of youth sports. And I was pretty happy about what I heard from an old friend I bumped into this weekend. He told me that his son was a leading player on his travel soccer team but he wanted to take the winter off even though his whole team (and good friends) will be training through the winter. Best part of the story was that my friend was incredibly supportive of his son. I believe his words were something like “If my son isn’t having fun, or feels like he wants to take a break, we’re supporting him”
So, why did this put such a smile on my face? Probably because when I encourage sports parents to give their kids a rest for a season, I usually get a slew of objections. The leading ones:
—I don’t want my player to fall behind her peers.
—I don’t want my player to be the only one taking a season off.
—I wouldn’t want the coaches to question my child’s commitment.
—I want my daughter’s skills to stay sharp year round.
—I want my daughter to be with her friends.
—I want my daughter to stay in shape.
—I want my daughter to be at the top of her game for Spring tryout season.
Bottom line: Your kids should use the extra season to try a new sport, take up a new hobby, play pickup games with friends in your neighborhood and stay active in other ways. And for any parent or coach that doesn’t recognize the importance of taking a season off from your sport (especially ages 12 and younger), please email me (seriously) and I will provide you with medical research, psychological research, physiological research and many first hand accounts of why it is so important to not play the same sport 12 months a year. Stepping off the soapbox now….and wishing a great winter sports season.