Take Home Messages for Parents

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Many coaches, while well intentioned, haven’t been educated in how children develop, and that is part of the reason kids are pushed so far in sports. Until that changes, it is very important that parents take an active role in their child’s exercise and sports programs to allow for adequate variety, rest, and most importantly, fun. Here are some points to consider for your young athlete:

1. Encourage variety! While some sports may require earlier specialization, it’s best for most athletes to avoid concentrating on only one sport until they’ve at least reached 11th grade.

2. Regardless of your child’s chosen sports, emphasize the importance of resistance training and flexibility drills. These general approaches should take place year-round – even in multi-sport athletes – to reduce the risk of injury, assist in motor development, build confidence, and enhance performance. Without resistance training and flexibility work, young athletes are competing on fumes, not conditioning.

3. Ask your son or daughter candidly if he/she still enjoys his/her sport(s). If the answer is no, look for alternative ways for your child to have fun while exercising. Remember, kids need to play, not compete. When pressure takes the place of fun, it’s time to take a break and put the fun back in exercise.

4. Overuse and traumatic injuries are a sign that the physical challenges imposed on your child have exceeded his/her ability to stand up to them. If these injuries are occurring, your young athlete needs a break in order to get healthy with some corrective exercise programming.

Eric Cressey

Working with Young Athletes? Turn a Good Program into a Great Program.