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Youth and Multiple Sports- Navigating the Waters (1 Viewer)

Chadstroma

Footballguy
There are a few youth sports threads but I didn't want to muddy their waters and didn't see one focused on this. 

I am getting more and more into the sports things with my kids and it is more and more becoming a major time consumer for me. Things have changed a lot in regards to sports from when I was a kid and I am fascinated by all the changes. I think that there are numerous things to discuss about kids playing multiple sports. Not exactly specific to the actual sports (though I can see discussion about how doing one sport directly helps development in another etc) but more about the juggling of the multi kids (for me at least) and multi sports. How much do you dive into what sports? What philosophy do you have about 'forcing' kids to be exposed to multiple sports and playing them or not doing that? What benefits/drawbacks you have seen or believe there is in playing multiple sports? And on and on. 

As a father of young kids that this is becoming more and more a major part of our lives, this is very interesting to me and I think likely to others. 

So... what is your situation? a/s/l but instead k/a/s (kids/ages of the kids/sports played) 

What questions do you have? 

What insights do you have? 

What experiences do you have? 

FEED ME SEYMOUR!

 
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Chadstroma

Footballguy
3/11, 8, 6/BBall, VBall, Football, Soccer, and Swim (for now)

My daughter (11) is somewhat interested in sports and playing Basketball and Volleyball. 

My boys are both very sports oriented. My 8 yr old is in Football, Basketball, Soccer and Swimming and it interested in pretty much all sports. My youngest hasn't played on a team yet but is all go for any sport and has had experience doing Basketball and Soccer camps, has done some multi sport camps in the past and is in swim lessons currently. 

One thing that I have been working through is how much to push my daughter to try new things (she is open to trying new things somewhat but usually wants a friend with her) and same with going to camps and things for BBall/Vball.... and then how much do pull my son back and focus him (or not) on doing 'too much'. And what point is too much? 

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
We let our kids play one sport at a time. Don't even care which one it is. Pick something and we'll play it.

But we also don't force them to pick anything.  But once they start a season they are committed to completing that season.
One sport a season basically?

 

ChiefD

Footballguy
One sport a season basically?
Yes. This was for a couple of reasons:

1. With three kids it's hard enough to get them to one sport each per week. Adding more sports in the same season makes it really hard on us and the family.

2. We wanted them to focus on one thing. They have plenty of other interests, plus school comes #1 in everything. 

 

Galileo

Footballguy
One sport a season basically?
Yes.  As a coach it always pissed me off when a kid would miss our baseball game to play in his soccer game (summer leagues).  Not fair to his teammates, IMO.  It is good to have them make some choices, and it is OK for them to not be involved in everything!  Much like Chief, we picked something and stuck with it for the season...Change next year if you want.  My oldest played football from 1st grade through 12th (crazy to look back at that now), baseball from T-ball through 9th grade and Basketball from like 3rd or 4th grade through 11th.  Youngest bounced around and tried several different sports for a season never really settling into any one in particular...except for swimming which lasted about 8 years.  Kids always chose.

 

nirad3

Footballguy
Paging @acarey50

Right now I have it pretty easy, with my 11yo daughter in volleyball (Tuesday night practices, Wednesday night skills class, Saturday morning games) and my 9yo son just doing a Tuesday night basketball skills class.  We haven't ever been challenged with multiple sports for same kid, nor would we want to navigate through that.  One sport per season.  Let them focus.

 
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Gally

Footballguy
Playing multiple sports is a benefit to overall athletic development and it really helps with avoiding burn out in any one thing.  Kids also need a break to be kids.  Unfortunately the youth sports model is getting less and less amenable to multi sport participation.  That is a sad thing but seems to be the norm.  

My daughter (just graduated college) played basketball, soccer, and softball.  She ended up ditching basketball after about 11 or 12 yrs old.  She kept with soccer until high school and injuries (concussion and torn hip labrum in consecutive years) stopped her in that sport.  She played softball all the way through high school.  

My son (sophomore in H.S.) played soccer, basketball and baseball.  He stopped soccer in about 6th grade and basketball after 8th grade.  He had knee (osgood-slaughters) and heel (sievers) due to growing as it really hurt his mobility and quickness.   He stuck with baseball and is still playing on his varsity HS team/travel team.

My recommendation is to do research for your area regarding the multiple sports and time frames for the year.  Find out when seasons start/end and what can be compatible so there isn't too much overlap.  If your kids are talented/driven enough to get travel/club interest it is even more important to do the research about the organizations you are thinking of joining.   Both my kids played club soccer and travel baseball/softball and we made sure they were in organizations that had breaks so they could do multiple sports.  We (and my kids) didn't want to specialize early and they liked playing all the sports so we found teams that made that possible.  It's not fair to be on a team and them miss half the practices/games.  It's better to find a team that fits into your plans so they can do what they want.

Also  realize many of the club/travel teams are money grabs and are more about or winning than they are about development.  There is nothing wrong with just doing local recreation leagues as long as your kid is being challenged and are still having fun.  We ended up going the travel/club route when the competition wasn't good enough (mostly due to travel/club dilution) that the kids weren't having much fun and weren't challenged.  

Unfortunately the rec league dilution is becoming all too common because everyone thinks they need to do club/travel ball.  That essentially becomes a self fulfilling prophecy because as kids leave the rec leagues the competition really goes down and it ends up being the kids that parents force to play and it's no fun for anyone.  We were lucky that we were able to find teams that meshed with our philosophies regarding schedule so we were able to maintain the multiple sports without much issue.

Good luck.  The best advice is to find good parents to be around that have you same philosophies regarding schedule/money/distance traveled/etc so that everyone is on the same page.  Really ask around and watch games/practices to see how coaches work to see if they line up with your wants.  The time up front will benefit you down the road tremendously.  

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
Yes. This was for a couple of reasons:

1. With three kids it's hard enough to get them to one sport each per week. Adding more sports in the same season makes it really hard on us and the family.

2. We wanted them to focus on one thing. They have plenty of other interests, plus school comes #1 in everything. 
1. Yea it has been a juggle with two kids so far. When the munchkin gets old enough to do actual real teams it should get real interesting. 

2. School is #1. For my son, it has been a driver to help focus him on doing better with school. We were having some issues with him but with some extra support, some more effort on our part and using sports as the carrot/stick with an understanding that he gets to do sports as long as school is done well.... has made a huge difference and he is doing much better. 

Focus on one thing... unpack that for me a little more. 

 

Drunken knight

Footballguy
Very different climate than it was when I went to hs … ‘87

Daughter is finishing sophomore year

activities have been lacrosse, ballet, cheer… now only lacrosse

back then it seemed very feasible to participate in multiple sports.  Big challenge now (we only have one child). Current teams and league leaders do not seem to want to accommodate other activities. 

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
Yes.  As a coach it always pissed me off when a kid would miss our baseball game to play in his soccer game (summer leagues).  Not fair to his teammates, IMO.  It is good to have them make some choices, and it is OK for them to not be involved in everything!  Much like Chief, we picked something and stuck with it for the season...Change next year if you want.  My oldest played football from 1st grade through 12th (crazy to look back at that now), baseball from T-ball through 9th grade and Basketball from like 3rd or 4th grade through 11th.  Youngest bounced around and tried several different sports for a season never really settling into any one in particular...except for swimming which lasted about 8 years.  Kids always chose.
The missing thing has been on my mind... I coached my sons bball for the 3rd grade school team and we didn't have that much or at all that I can think of. However, my daughters bball team missed players several times and my sons soccer team has had that happen with baseball. I have watched one of my daughters teammates who is an exceptional athlete. She has been the best player in the league in their basketball and volleyball leagues by a noticeable margin in both (school, not club but still). She missed several games due to a club team (I want to say it was for soccer) and her as well as several other girls had some conflict with times for Cheer. 

My son wanted to do baseball too but he had Soccer from the school and Club swimming and I was already feeling that was pushing it. Luckily, there was no conflict on times or choices that we had to make (except I think he will miss swim practice for their semi final game next week). He really wants to play baseball but soccer use to be his favorite sport (Football has taken that over) and he is really enjoying swimming. I am not sure what will happen next season but I am leaning towards staying the course and baseball just not being in his repertoire as I believe when forced to pick Baseball will lose out again. That is a little sad on my part since Baseball was my first love and played up through 9th grade when I started getting real pitching (Weaver was on my team... thankfully on my team cause his pitching was nasty then) and then I blew out my knee anyways.  

 

Galileo

Footballguy
The missing thing has been on my mind... I coached my sons bball for the 3rd grade school team and we didn't have that much or at all that I can think of. However, my daughters bball team missed players several times and my sons soccer team has had that happen with baseball. I have watched one of my daughters teammates who is an exceptional athlete. She has been the best player in the league in their basketball and volleyball leagues by a noticeable margin in both (school, not club but still). She missed several games due to a club team (I want to say it was for soccer) and her as well as several other girls had some conflict with times for Cheer. 

My son wanted to do baseball too but he had Soccer from the school and Club swimming and I was already feeling that was pushing it. Luckily, there was no conflict on times or choices that we had to make (except I think he will miss swim practice for their semi final game next week). He really wants to play baseball but soccer use to be his favorite sport (Football has taken that over) and he is really enjoying swimming. I am not sure what will happen next season but I am leaning towards staying the course and baseball just not being in his repertoire as I believe when forced to pick Baseball will lose out again. That is a little sad on my part since Baseball was my first love and played up through 9th grade when I started getting real pitching (Weaver was on my team... thankfully on my team cause his pitching was nasty then) and then I blew out my knee anyways.  
And this is why people tolerate/allow it.  I could be more forgiving of it if it we are talking about run of the mill community league teams, but if you are talking about travel/club teams, it's just not right in my mind.

 

acarey50

Footballguy
I had a very long post written out (longer than this), but I think answering in generalizations/philosophical approach is better. 

(And had I seen @Gally's post as I took a long time to write and re-write this, I'd have just quoted it and said "this")

I am a big proponent of participating and playing in as many sports as possible when they are young enough to do so. At some point as they get older, they will gravitate towards the sports they like better (or are better at), and move away from the sports they don't like. And if you encourage them to keep trying new sports, having that base of playing different things will help with that carryover.

If they are athletic and competitive, then, in my opinion, there is value in finding appropriately competitive leagues and or clubs/teams for them. If they are more into just having fun and are not athletic/competitive, be honest with yourself and again, put them in appropriately competitive leagues, generally rec and/or city programs. If playing multiple sports at the same time (or when seasons inevitably overlap), just be open and honest in communication with the coaches. For us, that meant that the priority was finishing out the current season of sport (including any playoffs/All Stars), then transitioning to the new season of whatever sport we were in. It also meant that in the case of a conflict, games took priority over practice regardless of sport, and once we were into the club and non-rec level of sports, the "higher" level sport took priority over the rec sport. For a lot of this, it helped that I coached a lot of the sports which gave me some control over the schedule to minimize conflicts.

For me, I really enjoyed (enjoy) coaching my kids, but be honest about your abilities as a coach. I'm a basketball coach on the side, helping run the high schools feeder program, so in addition to coaching my own kids I have coached and trained several other teams/kids to get them prepared for high school basketball. I feel comfortable coaching basketball at basically any level. I also know that as it is not my career, there are many coaches a lot better than me that I try to learn from, but I also know that the majority of people I see passing themselves off as club coaches and doing it for their primary source of income are garbage. I also have a passable knowledge of football and am comfortable coaching at least flag football, teaching the basic concepts of defense, offense, strategy, etc., but for kids that are more serious and want position specific training, etc., I refer them to other coaches that do that. I will be doing this for my 11 year old, as he wants to follow in his cousins footsteps and play high school football at a high level and hopefully continue into college (nephews are leaving some big shoes to fill for him). Soccer I was fine doing when it was a swarm of kids and doing my best to teach them to space out a bit. Once it came to techniques, strategies, and going towards "real" soccer, I was out (though I did serve as an assistant coach for a couple seasons which was more of a designated reminder of what kids needed to be subbed in, etc. when they were still at age/level with mandatory play time). None of my boys played baseball beyond 4th grade, so much like soccer, I served as an assistant coach.

For our family, our kids were all into sports. Going to games/practices/weekend tournaments was and still is a big part of spending family time together and with likeminded friends. It would be no different than if your kids were into band, musical theater, chess, scouts or any other activity that is focused on them (and not you). Whatever the activity is, at least from my perspective, as a parent I was there to support them, and I found that to be a much more gratifying time than anything that was just about me. Yes, that means that there are many Sundays where I did not watch NFL football - I much enjoyed watching my kids playing soccer and could check scores on my phone. There were nights where I didn't make it to poker night or I left earlier and only had a couple beers because we had a morning game. But I have never felt like I have missed out on anything because I got the satisfaction of seeing my kids do something they enjoy.

Now, I am also fortunate enough to be someone that does not take youth sports that seriously. I get great pleasure at making fun of and mocking the parents that go crazy on the sidelines, blame referees for everything (you'd be shocked how many parents believe their kid has never committed foul in their career in basketball), love the ones that seem to know everything about soccer but have no concept of allowing a team to play advantage. The more I have embraced just sitting out there and enjoying the game, the more fulfilling it is.

 
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jobarules

Footballguy
There are a few youth sports threads but I didn't want to muddy their waters and didn't see one focused on this. 

I am getting more and more into the sports things with my kids and it is more and more becoming a major time consumer for me. Things have changed a lot in regards to sports from when I was a kid and I am fascinated by all the changes. I think that there are numerous things to discuss about kids playing multiple sports. Not exactly specific to the actual sports (though I can see discussion about how doing one sport directly helps development in another etc) but more about the juggling of the multi kids (for me at least) and multi sports. How much do you dive into what sports? What philosophy do you have about 'forcing' kids to be exposed to multiple sports and playing them or not doing that? What benefits/drawbacks you have seen or believe there is in playing multiple sports? And on and on. 

As a father of young kids that this is becoming more and more a major part of our lives, this is very interesting to me and I think likely to others. 

So... what is your situation? a/s/l but instead k/a/s (kids/ages of the kids/sports played) 

What questions do you have? 

What insights do you have? 

What experiences do you have? 

FEED ME SEYMOUR!
I only have one child. He plays baseball and flag football. Last year he was on 3 baseball teams at one time lol. Honestly I haven't found an issue juggling multiple sports. Baseball is his main sport so if there is a conflict baseball takes precedence. I can see it getting hectic with multiple kids but that's where mom gets involved and/or you make friends with someone to take your kid to his games/practices.

 

jobarules

Footballguy
Yes.  As a coach it always pissed me off when a kid would miss our baseball game to play in his soccer game (summer leagues).  Not fair to his teammates, IMO.  It is good to have them make some choices, and it is OK for them to not be involved in everything!  Much like Chief, we picked something and stuck with it for the season...Change next year if you want.  My oldest played football from 1st grade through 12th (crazy to look back at that now), baseball from T-ball through 9th grade and Basketball from like 3rd or 4th grade through 11th.  Youngest bounced around and tried several different sports for a season never really settling into any one in particular...except for swimming which lasted about 8 years.  Kids always chose.
This annoys me as a coach too but multiple sports is beneficial to the kid so I just deal with it. What's best for the kid is more important than what's best for the sport you coach. 

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
I only have one child. He plays baseball and flag football. Last year he was on 3 baseball teams at one time lol. Honestly I haven't found an issue juggling multiple sports. Baseball is his main sport so if there is a conflict baseball takes precedence. I can see it getting hectic with multiple kids but that's where mom gets involved and/or you make friends with someone to take your kid to his games/practices.
3 baseball teams in the same season or like both regular and winter leagues? 

 

Galileo

Footballguy
This annoys me as a coach too but multiple sports is beneficial to the kid so I just deal with it. What's best for the kid is more important than what's best for the sport you coach. 
I have no problem with multiple sports, but not simultaneously.  The year is plenty long enough to experience several different sports.  If you choose to play soccer, fine. Play soccer.  I don't think it is right, nor do I think it is a good message to kids regarding commitment, that it is OK to miss your practices/games in one sport because you also want to play another sport at the same time.   

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
Playing multiple sports is a benefit to overall athletic development and it really helps with avoiding burn out in any one thing.  Kids also need a break to be kids.  Unfortunately the youth sports model is getting less and less amenable to multi sport participation.  That is a sad thing but seems to be the norm.  

My daughter (just graduated college) played basketball, soccer, and softball.  She ended up ditching basketball after about 11 or 12 yrs old.  She kept with soccer until high school and injuries (concussion and torn hip labrum in consecutive years) stopped her in that sport.  She played softball all the way through high school.  

My son (sophomore in H.S.) played soccer, basketball and baseball.  He stopped soccer in about 6th grade and basketball after 8th grade.  He had knee (osgood-slaughters) and heel (sievers) due to growing as it really hurt his mobility and quickness.   He stuck with baseball and is still playing on his varsity HS team/travel team.

My recommendation is to do research for your area regarding the multiple sports and time frames for the year.  Find out when seasons start/end and what can be compatible so there isn't too much overlap.  If your kids are talented/driven enough to get travel/club interest it is even more important to do the research about the organizations you are thinking of joining.   Both my kids played club soccer and travel baseball/softball and we made sure they were in organizations that had breaks so they could do multiple sports.  We (and my kids) didn't want to specialize early and they liked playing all the sports so we found teams that made that possible.  It's not fair to be on a team and them miss half the practices/games.  It's better to find a team that fits into your plans so they can do what they want.

Also  realize many of the club/travel teams are money grabs and are more about or winning than they are about development.  There is nothing wrong with just doing local recreation leagues as long as your kid is being challenged and are still having fun.  We ended up going the travel/club route when the competition wasn't good enough (mostly due to travel/club dilution) that the kids weren't having much fun and weren't challenged.  

Unfortunately the rec league dilution is becoming all too common because everyone thinks they need to do club/travel ball.  That essentially becomes a self fulfilling prophecy because as kids leave the rec leagues the competition really goes down and it ends up being the kids that parents force to play and it's no fun for anyone.  We were lucky that we were able to find teams that meshed with our philosophies regarding schedule so we were able to maintain the multiple sports without much issue.

Good luck.  The best advice is to find good parents to be around that have you same philosophies regarding schedule/money/distance traveled/etc so that everyone is on the same page.  Really ask around and watch games/practices to see how coaches work to see if they line up with your wants.  The time up front will benefit you down the road tremendously.  
Our city doesn't even have a rec leagues for kids. I always thought that was odd (thinking back to my youth) but your point makes sense with everyone gravitating to club sports. 

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
Very different climate than it was when I went to hs … ‘87

Daughter is finishing sophomore year

activities have been lacrosse, ballet, cheer… now only lacrosse

back then it seemed very feasible to participate in multiple sports.  Big challenge now (we only have one child). Current teams and league leaders do not seem to want to accommodate other activities. 
I was class of '95 and it is completely different from then.

So much more coaching and camps and clinics and.... you name it. Back then, there was one basketball camp that I could go go to and that was our local HS camp. The HS camp was good for me as the coaches knew me and they basically recruited me as much as they could (I remember them telling me all stuff they couldn't do but basically wanted to make sure I was going there) and that would have been helpful if my knee didn't blow out before really getting to play in HS (Freshman year is when I was hurt). 

So much more business and so much more focus on going pro. I mean, the only kid I remember back then that there was talk about then was Jeff Weaver... because.... well..... he did go pro. (Thankfully he was on my team in my last year of baseball because I didn't not want to face him pitching)

Even Lacrosse being a common/popular sport is a whole different climate now. 

It is like night and day from a few decades back. 

 

acarey50

Footballguy
Our city doesn't even have a rec leagues for kids. I always thought that was odd (thinking back to my youth) but your point makes sense with everyone gravitating to club sports. 
Depending on sport, I've found most leagues are not run through the cities. In my city, they do have a rec department and they run basketball and volleyball leagues through it, but they are very small and almost always geared towards kids getting their first experience in any form of organized sports.

Baseball - It's little league or Pony

Soccer - A lot of the clubs run rec programs. In our area there are 3 major youth rec leagues, but all have a club component that they are essentially partnered with.

Basketball - A little more wild west, but locally there are at least 4 or 5 leagues. Finding adequate gym time is the hardest thing. The largest one probably has 300 teams across the various age groups and runs 4 seasons/year. Others are not quite as big.

Football - About 4 or 5 flag leagues I am aware of. Tackle football is much smaller, still a number of teams but it almost seems like the wild west as far as the leagues they play in.

Volleyball - A couple leagues locally.

I think a limiting factor is that for most of the rec leagues, teams are formed via draft or random assignment. Nowadays it seems parents want a lot more control on who their kids play with (or don't play with), who their coach is, etc. rather than let the kids be drafted/assigned to a teams and go from there. That basketball league that has 300 teams - their catch is that they let you bring your own team - so grab 8 friends a coach and you're good to go. And if you don't have a team - sign up as an individual and we'll stick you with 8 (or 10) other kids that didn't have a team and hope one of the parents will step up to coach. Leads to a huge disparity in team levels. They generally schedule you a 5 week regular season and use that to seed playoffs. This is where it's ok - they do try to balance out the playoffs so for example the 8 worst teams are in a bracket, then the next 8 and so on. But the 5 game regular season a giant poop show with 50 point blowouts a regular thing.

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
Depending on sport, I've found most leagues are not run through the cities. In my city, they do have a rec department and they run basketball and volleyball leagues through it, but they are very small and almost always geared towards kids getting their first experience in any form of organized sports.

Baseball - It's little league or Pony

Soccer - A lot of the clubs run rec programs. In our area there are 3 major youth rec leagues, but all have a club component that they are essentially partnered with.

Basketball - A little more wild west, but locally there are at least 4 or 5 leagues. Finding adequate gym time is the hardest thing. The largest one probably has 300 teams across the various age groups and runs 4 seasons/year. Others are not quite as big.

Football - About 4 or 5 flag leagues I am aware of. Tackle football is much smaller, still a number of teams but it almost seems like the wild west as far as the leagues they play in.

Volleyball - A couple leagues locally.

I think a limiting factor is that for most of the rec leagues, teams are formed via draft or random assignment. Nowadays it seems parents want a lot more control on who their kids play with (or don't play with), who their coach is, etc. rather than let the kids be drafted/assigned to a teams and go from there. That basketball league that has 300 teams - their catch is that they let you bring your own team - so grab 8 friends a coach and you're good to go. And if you don't have a team - sign up as an individual and we'll stick you with 8 (or 10) other kids that didn't have a team and hope one of the parents will step up to coach. Leads to a huge disparity in team levels. They generally schedule you a 5 week regular season and use that to seed playoffs. This is where it's ok - they do try to balance out the playoffs so for example the 8 worst teams are in a bracket, then the next 8 and so on. But the 5 game regular season a giant poop show with 50 point blowouts a regular thing.
Here there are no rec leagues at all at any level. They have some camps and clinics but no leagues. 

We are lucky with the Catholic private school which has a whole (numerous) catholic school leagues. So, my daughter has done Bball and Vball with it and my son Football, Bball and Soccer. He will do Track and Field and Cross Country when he is old enough to when they start and is uncommitted to Golf and VBall (Golf is a ways off as it is only offered in 8th grade but Vball is next year... I suspect he will want to if his friends are playing and considering his grades seems to be very sports oriented, I would be surprised if he doesn't. From what I can tell, he has an impression that Vball is a 'girl' sport which is why he is hesitant). He is in club Swimming now. From 3-5th grades the teams are developmental focused. Starting in 6th they have tryouts and A/B teams for Basketball and Volleyball (Soccer seems to be just enough bodies between two grades to fill a team and Football is 

Locally it seems there is a Pony league and they also run a basketball league which they call both "in house" leagues. They also have a club team baseball and soccer team. There is no direct connection to the city but I think there may be some support from rec on top of cooperation for using a lot of the rec facilities, fields, etc. as they have the same rules as the city/rec does for resident vs non-resident (I live in an unincorporated area of our city so we are treated as non-residents on everything). My guess is the rec is kind of outsourcing the league stuff (at least baseball and basketball) to them. 

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
An interesting situation was brought to my attention by my SIL. My niece is the same age and same school as my daughter and they both went out for the Team A for their school in basketball. I would be shocked if my daughter makes the team but she wanted to try out so I was all for it. 

There is one girl who is an exceptional athlete. She has been the place player I saw in not just their school but their league in basketball and volleyball. This last basketball season she missed a number of games. Maybe close to 1/3 of the games. I am not all in her business but from what I understood they all were missed due to conflict with other teams. Mostly due to a club team she plays with (I think it might be a soccer team?) but I think one game was missed by her and several other girls who are also were on the girls cheer team. 

My SIL mentioned to me that apparently at the basketball tryouts there was a little drama about the super athlete because she has already made the 'varsity' cheer (they are in 6th grade, so I guess that means they will cheer with the 8th graders?) and more than a couple of mothers were already saying that since she will miss games she should automatically be on the B team so not to take a seat from another girl who would be there 100%. I know the AD wants her on the A team and has in the past let her basically into all the sports with the expectation that she would have to juggle different teams and miss some things at times since she can't be in two places at once. 

This is also transitioning from 5th grade, which is more of a developmental approach of 'everyone plays roughly equal time' and wins/losses are not as much of a focus. They have two teams but there is no A or B and there are no tryouts. They just split the girls into two teams and go to work. Now, 6th grade, it is A and B teams with tryouts. If you are the 8th best player on the team, you won't see much playing time because the focus is not on winning. 

My thinking on it is that she should be on A team because she is clearly the best player and deserves to be based on her ability. The girl getting displaced to the B team would not see much playing time on the A team anyways and the A team is a much better team with the ability to win many more games with the super athlete on it. Apparently this whole thing may cause some drama. 

 

belljr

Footballguy
My daughter played multiple sports until 9 the grade. School sports never interfered with club/town sports. School would always be priority, until she was older then there was no conflict.

Fall was the only time she played 2 sports at the same time. The in season sport would take priority. As in field hockey/fall softball. Field hockey was priority.

Once softball became her top sport she dropped town hockey in 9th grade and played in school

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
Chadstroma said:
An interesting situation was brought to my attention by my SIL. My niece is the same age and same school as my daughter and they both went out for the Team A for their school in basketball. I would be shocked if my daughter makes the team but she wanted to try out so I was all for it. 

There is one girl who is an exceptional athlete. She has been the place player I saw in not just their school but their league in basketball and volleyball. This last basketball season she missed a number of games. Maybe close to 1/3 of the games. I am not all in her business but from what I understood they all were missed due to conflict with other teams. Mostly due to a club team she plays with (I think it might be a soccer team?) but I think one game was missed by her and several other girls who are also were on the girls cheer team. 

My SIL mentioned to me that apparently at the basketball tryouts there was a little drama about the super athlete because she has already made the 'varsity' cheer (they are in 6th grade, so I guess that means they will cheer with the 8th graders?) and more than a couple of mothers were already saying that since she will miss games she should automatically be on the B team so not to take a seat from another girl who would be there 100%. I know the AD wants her on the A team and has in the past let her basically into all the sports with the expectation that she would have to juggle different teams and miss some things at times since she can't be in two places at once. 

This is also transitioning from 5th grade, which is more of a developmental approach of 'everyone plays roughly equal time' and wins/losses are not as much of a focus. They have two teams but there is no A or B and there are no tryouts. They just split the girls into two teams and go to work. Now, 6th grade, it is A and B teams with tryouts. If you are the 8th best player on the team, you won't see much playing time because the focus is not on winning. 

My thinking on it is that she should be on A team because she is clearly the best player and deserves to be based on her ability. The girl getting displaced to the B team would not see much playing time on the A team anyways and the A team is a much better team with the ability to win many more games with the super athlete on it. Apparently this whole thing may cause some drama. 
The exceptional athlete made the A team (as well as another girl who is on cheer). My niece made the A team as well. My daughter is on B team but oddly enough she said "YEA!" when I told her.... which I asked why did you try out for A if you wanted to be on B? I never got a rational actual full sentence answer from her on that. But she knows she will have more playing time on B and her closest friend is on B with her so she is happy. 

I was surprised with one girl that made A team and one girl that is on B. I certainly would have switched them based off on last season but then again, perhaps the girl that made A has worked hard an improved (I did not watch the tryouts). My SIL was surprised another girl was placed on B versus A but I didn't see her play much last season so I really could not say one way or another. 

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
I talked to the soccer club to discuss it and possibly having my son try out with them. The main points were trying to figure out commitment level and cost. They were pretty flexible on having other commitments and missing time as needed. They have three seasons so it is basically an all year thing. With all the other sports stuff he has, though possible, we felt it would just be too much. Though soccer use to be his favorite sport, it seems to be falling down the interest level rankings. On top of that and the $$$, I decided we would skip for now. I played with the idea of having him tryout anyways just to see where he would land (if landed at all) but based off of watching other soccer with a couple of his team mates from that team, I think he would likely end up in the middle tier of their three teams at least initially. However, I opted not to have him tryout because honestly I could see there being an issue with him being upset for not playing. 

 

Navin Johnson

Footballguy
And this is why people tolerate/allow it.  I could be more forgiving of it if it we are talking about run of the mill community league teams, but if you are talking about travel/club teams, it's just not right in my mind.
For the players that are trying to play after HS, club > school team and it's not really close.

 

Galileo

Footballguy
For the players that are trying to play after HS, club > school team and it's not really close.
OK.  Not sure why you quoted me on this comment.  I wasn't necessarily talking about school teams at all.  I coached a travel baseball team for several years in the summer, not a school team.  One year I had a kid trying to play on a second travel baseball team, and during another year had a kid trying to play on a soccer team at the same time.  I would have preferred they choose one or the other.  If they didn't want to commit to my baseball team, that is fine.  Go play your other sport and let me fill my roster with someone who would be fully dedicated.  Now, if a kid playing club soccer also wanted to play in the local non travel rec baseball league when available just for the fun of the sport, I would be more understanding of that.  I do not think it is right to try and split your time between two competitive travel/club sports at the same time.  One, or both of those teams, are getting short changed.

 

Terminalxylem

Footballguy
I have no kids, but can comment on my father’s strategy.

Academics came first, but he encouraged me to be involved in non-overlapping sports throughout the school year. He wanted me to participate in individual and team sports, so I wrestled and played soccer. I had no structured activity in summer, and basically just rode bikes and hung out with friends.

I think that basic philosophy is fine, as there are valuable lessens to be learned by being a member of a team vs. one-on-one activities, as well as time to be a kid. But as an active middle aged adult, I wish I’d been exposed to sports with a longer shelf life instead - there aren’t many 50 year olds playing soccer or wrestling (nor the major team sports emphasized in most hs). Moreover, I think the potential for musculoskeletal injuries should be considered, and sports like football and basketball are joint issues waiting to happen.

If I were a father, I’d try to expose my kids to activities like tennis and medium distance running, plus outdoor recreation like hiking, cycling, rock climbing and skiing. While some of those are debatable as “sports”, they all are  gentle on the body and can be done well into adulthood, and even old age. I also like the idea that some of those activities promote freedom from electronic  devices. 

 

acarey50

Footballguy
OK.  Not sure why you quoted me on this comment.  I wasn't necessarily talking about school teams at all.  I coached a travel baseball team for several years in the summer, not a school team.  One year I had a kid trying to play on a second travel baseball team, and during another year had a kid trying to play on a soccer team at the same time.  I would have preferred they choose one or the other.  If they didn't want to commit to my baseball team, that is fine.  Go play your other sport and let me fill my roster with someone who would be fully dedicated.  Now, if a kid playing club soccer also wanted to play in the local non travel rec baseball league when available just for the fun of the sport, I would be more understanding of that.  I do not think it is right to try and split your time between two competitive travel/club sports at the same time.  One, or both of those teams, are getting short changed.


Were you good about communicating this expectation up front before selecting kids for the team?

Were they up front about them having other commitments as well?

I would say the vast majority of my higher level club level players play multiple sports, usually at a high level. Generally speaking they are the better athletes in their age group and are able to be major contributors to both (or 3 or 4) sports. My rule is that I am up front with expectations and have open and frank discussions about prioritization. For my 5th/6th grade basketball team, we play year round as most clubs do, and the majority of our players are on high level club soccer teams or high level travel baseball teams. A few that are basketball specific will play with other teams. We are very up front that conflicts from other sports are fine so long as they are proactive letting us know about conflicts - during spring which is primary baseball season, we expect baseball to be the priority and encourage that, during fall which is primary soccer season, that is the priority. During winter, when we are in prime tourney season, the expectation is that we are the priority. Summer is tricky as it's peak baseball tourney season but also very big for basketball. We make it work. The only thing where we say we must be the priority at all times is if they are trying to play for another basketball team. If they miss our practice or games for another basketball team, then we will have issues.

Thus far it has worked out great - but it is all about the communication.

 

Gally

Footballguy
Were you good about communicating this expectation up front before selecting kids for the team?

Were they up front about them having other commitments as well?

I would say the vast majority of my higher level club level players play multiple sports, usually at a high level. Generally speaking they are the better athletes in their age group and are able to be major contributors to both (or 3 or 4) sports. My rule is that I am up front with expectations and have open and frank discussions about prioritization. For my 5th/6th grade basketball team, we play year round as most clubs do, and the majority of our players are on high level club soccer teams or high level travel baseball teams. A few that are basketball specific will play with other teams. We are very up front that conflicts from other sports are fine so long as they are proactive letting us know about conflicts - during spring which is primary baseball season, we expect baseball to be the priority and encourage that, during fall which is primary soccer season, that is the priority. During winter, when we are in prime tourney season, the expectation is that we are the priority. Summer is tricky as it's peak baseball tourney season but also very big for basketball. We make it work. The only thing where we say we must be the priority at all times is if they are trying to play for another basketball team. If they miss our practice or games for another basketball team, then we will have issues.

Thus far it has worked out great - but it is all about the communication.
Hmmm.......the solution to most issues is proper communication.  Unfortunately the majority of people don't know how to communicate.

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
I have no kids, but can comment on my father’s strategy.

Academics came first, but he encouraged me to be involved in non-overlapping sports throughout the school year. He wanted me to participate in individual and team sports, so I wrestled and played soccer. I had no structured activity in summer, and basically just rode bikes and hung out with friends.

I think that basic philosophy is fine, as there are valuable lessens to be learned by being a member of a team vs. one-on-one activities, as well as time to be a kid. But as an active middle aged adult, I wish I’d been exposed to sports with a longer shelf life instead - there aren’t many 50 year olds playing soccer or wrestling (nor the major team sports emphasized in most hs). Moreover, I think the potential for musculoskeletal injuries should be considered, and sports like football and basketball are joint issues waiting to happen.

If I were a father, I’d try to expose my kids to activities like tennis and medium distance running, plus outdoor recreation like hiking, cycling, rock climbing and skiing. While some of those are debatable as “sports”, they all are  gentle on the body and can be done well into adulthood, and even old age. I also like the idea that some of those activities promote freedom from electronic  devices. 
I am less worried about injury as my own experience as a kid. I was always active- if not with an organized team just out playing with friends. Much of that time with basketball. I rolled my ankle once with a sprain in all those years and and time playing basketball. Never a real injury in baseball (besides contusions from being hit by a ball). I blew my knee out on a bike and it ruined all my sport activity for the rest of my life. I was definitely going to play HS basketball but couldn't come back from the injury. I was riding my mountain bike and jumped off the sidewalk onto the street. My chain slipped and that made me lose my footing. As I went to start to roll, my leg came down and hyper extended. 

On top of that, just as you wished you have played and done other things. I wish I had played football. I never did because my entire family was worried about injuries. I stayed away and still ended up with a significant injury that ended me playing competitive sports. 

My look out on that with my kids has been that an injury can happen in any sport. As long as the proper precautions have been taken place then it is what it will be or not be. I don't want to say no to my kids because of my fear of them being hurt because I regret the fear of my family holding me back and I still ended up injured like they feared. 

I am exposing my kids to lot's of things. They have done rock climbing, cycling, hiking with me as many sports. I almost signed my son up for tennis stuff with the rec but he is doing so much this summer than I felt it was starting to cross over into 'too much' but maybe sometime through the year or next year. The other sport I wanted to try to fit in was Lacrosse but it just didn't work out schedule wise. From there, it is more of letting him tell me what he wants to do. His top sports are "Football and Soccer are tied. Then Basketball and Swimming are tied. Then Baseball." but it is rare for him to not want to do some kind of sport activity. 

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
One thing that I was wondering about in regards to multiple sport athletes. 

What one sport (or maybe the question is better asked if there is one sport) is the best sport for cross training an athlete for development in other sports?

 

Gally

Footballguy
I second that.  Learning how to run properly and being in shape will help in any sport.  Another quality one is swimming as it is low impact and works all muscle groups without bulking up.

Really just doing a variety of different activities using different muscle groups is the most beneficial.  It helps prevent overuse and burn out of doing one thing only.

 

acarey50

Footballguy
Chadstroma said:
One thing that I was wondering about in regards to multiple sport athletes. 

What one sport (or maybe the question is better asked if there is one sport) is the best sport for cross training an athlete for development in other sports?


Do you mean as far as conditioning an athlete (which is the way it appears @MAC_32 and @Gally) interpreted the questions, or do you mean in terms of developing sport specific skills.

If conditioning, even the type of conditioning for each sport is different. Is it something that requires the ability to pace for longer distances (cross country) or is it a game of quick stops and starts (football), or something in between incorporating both, like soccer/basketball? Or something where conditioning is not necessarily major component (looking at you baseball)?

If sport specific skill, then I'd say there is no one unicorn sport. Baseball probably has the highest degree of sport specific skill (talking the major US team sports) that needs to be developed, as I'd argue that hitting and pitching are probably some of the most difficult motor skills to develop at a high level. The ability to dribble a soccer ball or a basketball are very different and not something that will develop by playing a different sport - you need a ball in foot/hand to develop those skills.

Now, that said, a lot of sports have good cross over in terms of sports strategy/IQ - for the younger kids I coach in basketball, I love to get soccer kids that have been decently coached, as they tend to have a great concept of spacing the floor, moving without the ball, and working together to create mismatches and open teammates. If those instincts are there, I can work on the skill.

Just some thoughts off the top of my head, but am very open to the idea that I could be off base on some of this.

 

Terminalxylem

Footballguy
Chadstroma said:
I am less worried about injury as my own experience as a kid. I was always active- if not with an organized team just out playing with friends. Much of that time with basketball. I rolled my ankle once with a sprain in all those years and and time playing basketball. Never a real injury in baseball (besides contusions from being hit by a ball). I blew my knee out on a bike and it ruined all my sport activity for the rest of my life. I was definitely going to play HS basketball but couldn't come back from the injury. I was riding my mountain bike and jumped off the sidewalk onto the street. My chain slipped and that made me lose my footing. As I went to start to roll, my leg came down and hyper extended. 

On top of that, just as you wished you have played and done other things. I wish I had played football. I never did because my entire family was worried about injuries. I stayed away and still ended up with a significant injury that ended me playing competitive sports. 

My look out on that with my kids has been that an injury can happen in any sport. As long as the proper precautions have been taken place then it is what it will be or not be. I don't want to say no to my kids because of my fear of them being hurt because I regret the fear of my family holding me back and I still ended up injured like they feared. 

I am exposing my kids to lot's of things. They have done rock climbing, cycling, hiking with me as many sports. I almost signed my son up for tennis stuff with the rec but he is doing so much this summer than I felt it was starting to cross over into 'too much' but maybe sometime through the year or next year. The other sport I wanted to try to fit in was Lacrosse but it just didn't work out schedule wise. From there, it is more of letting him tell me what he wants to do. His top sports are "Football and Soccer are tied. Then Basketball and Swimming are tied. Then Baseball." but it is rare for him to not want to do some kind of sport activity. 
Fair enough. I agree it’s great to expose kids to a bunch of activities. Prioritizing which to try is the problem. As there are really only a handful of sports people do into middles age and beyond, I’d try to include some kind of racket sport, running, cycling or swimming. Golf and skiing are also in the mix, though they can be prohibitively expensive, and neither really offers as much health benefits as the first group. And gyms have made climbing pretty accessible for all ages, too.

As far as injury risk, road cycling is problematic, as few areas have the infrastructure or culture to support it. And while I enjoy mountain biking, it definitely is an injury waiting to happen. I thought this was interesting to clarify the risk of injury from various activities for kids. It’s not surprising that football, basketball and cycling are at the top of the list, though we really need the denominator for each group to understand relative risk. Anecdotally, I know more middle aged dudes getting injured in the weight room or playing basketball than anything else.

 
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SwampDawg

Footballguy
So having lived through the multiple sports to now serious with one on a high level I'll give my perspective. Keep in mind unlike @Chadstromawe are in a small town in eastern PA where everything is run by rec/youth leagues and schools don't offer sports until 7th grade or 9th grade depending on the sport.

Two boys, currently 18 and 15.  Sports played Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Racing (Go Karts), Golf

My just graduated 18 year old was the first to play starting with T-ball and soccer when he was in kindergarten for the local organizations. He stuck with baseball through age 16 although he only played two years of middle school and his freshman year in high school. He liked playing but isn't crazy competitive so he always played in the local rec league which was made up of teams from the various organizations across the county. He was done with soccer when they got out of the just kick around stage and started playing real games at U9, too much running. He likes the sport of basketball but his two attempts at playing (4th grade local rec team and 8th grade in middle school) didn't go well as it just isn't his sport. He played golf his freshman and sophomore year in high school. I wish he had been able to stick with it as he has some natural ability but he has some other learning issues that he decided not to. Hopefully now that he is out of school I can get him playing again with me. He also raced karts for about 5 years (10 to 15), we aren't talking your amusement park karts these were pure racing karts with a top speed of about 55mph. He'd like to get back into racing something but needs to work and contribute to it now that he is out of school. He never played more then one sport at a time other then racing but that was Sunday afternoons so it only rarely overlapped with baseball.

My 15 year old is the total opposite, he is very naturally gifted athletically (biggest indicator that he is adopted) and is very competitive.  He started playing soccer, baseball and basketball as soon as he was old enough. The only time we had overlap was age 8 to 11 the local soccer club had a short spring season that overlapped with baseball. Fortunately being a small town a lot of kids played both and the same group of core parents were the ones always coaching and running the organizations so we all worked together to try and limit conflicts. When there was everyone agreed the sport in season took precedence. So spring baseball came first, for a few of the kids that played fall baseball soccer came first. When the time came to move up to 12U baseball that required more commitment he decided that since soccer was his favorite sport he wanted to move to a more competitive travel club and stop playing baseball. We went along with that but he continued to play basketball on the local team and then in 7th and 8th grade as well. He even went back and played baseball in 8th grade for the middle school team because his buddies wanted him to and he batted over .400 on the season after not playing for over 3 years. That spring he also got the opportunity to train with and eventually get offered a spot on a very high level travel soccer team. At his choice last year going in to high school he decided to focus on soccer because he wants to play in college and playing at the level he does the travel and commitment really makes it hard to do anything else. He wanted to try volleyball this year but the games were all Tuesday and Thursday nights in the spring and his soccer team trains Tuesday and Thursday nights. He could have practiced but would never had made games.

While it was hectic when they were younger and both doing sports it was really only a couple springs that were crazy.  I was coaching both boys teams in baseball for the local league, my younger son was on the organizations tournament baseball team as well and playing spring soccer. On top of it I was President of the baseball association so had to deal with that.  Ate at the food stand a lot of nights and probably spent too much work time working on lineups but looking back it was a lot of fun and my wife was a great sport about running one kid to a practice while I was at another.

As a side note even now at 15 going on 16 I ask him every spring is he still having fun and enjoying it. The team he plays on is a huge commitment not only financially but also in his time. I always tell him you could step back a level and still play travel for a different club. He'd be a starter and hardly come off the field but he loves the challenge of the level he plays at and the fact the kids on the team push each other each and every practice. When it stops being fun he knows he can step back we aren't pushing him.

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
Do you mean as far as conditioning an athlete (which is the way it appears @MAC_32 and @Gally) interpreted the questions, or do you mean in terms of developing sport specific skills.

If conditioning, even the type of conditioning for each sport is different. Is it something that requires the ability to pace for longer distances (cross country) or is it a game of quick stops and starts (football), or something in between incorporating both, like soccer/basketball? Or something where conditioning is not necessarily major component (looking at you baseball)?

If sport specific skill, then I'd say there is no one unicorn sport. Baseball probably has the highest degree of sport specific skill (talking the major US team sports) that needs to be developed, as I'd argue that hitting and pitching are probably some of the most difficult motor skills to develop at a high level. The ability to dribble a soccer ball or a basketball are very different and not something that will develop by playing a different sport - you need a ball in foot/hand to develop those skills.

Now, that said, a lot of sports have good cross over in terms of sports strategy/IQ - for the younger kids I coach in basketball, I love to get soccer kids that have been decently coached, as they tend to have a great concept of spacing the floor, moving without the ball, and working together to create mismatches and open teammates. If those instincts are there, I can work on the skill.

Just some thoughts off the top of my head, but am very open to the idea that I could be off base on some of this.
I didn't have any specific meaning on the question... I just thought it was an interesting question to ponder. I kind of meandered through both views of conditioning and 'athletic development'. 

The two sports that I thought about were swimming for the conditioning side and soccer for the development. For swimming, I don't think you can beat the full body exercise. The entire body is being worked out with resistance. It can develop both the sprinting and endurance. Since all muscle groups are being engaged, the conditioning can translate to other sports well. 

With soccer, it is all about footwork and good footwork is crucial to pretty much every sport you can think of (or at least I can). Footwork is likely the most under rated thing in most sports. Though the footwork itself is different having the dexterity of being able to have good footwork can translate well into most sports.  

Those were my thoughts but interested in other thoughts. 

 

MAC_32

Footballguy
I didn't have any specific meaning on the question... I just thought it was an interesting question to ponder. I kind of meandered through both views of conditioning and 'athletic development'. 

The two sports that I thought about were swimming for the conditioning side and soccer for the development. For swimming, I don't think you can beat the full body exercise. The entire body is being worked out with resistance. It can develop both the sprinting and endurance. Since all muscle groups are being engaged, the conditioning can translate to other sports well. 

With soccer, it is all about footwork and good footwork is crucial to pretty much every sport you can think of (or at least I can). Footwork is likely the most under rated thing in most sports. Though the footwork itself is different having the dexterity of being able to have good footwork can translate well into most sports.  

Those were my thoughts but interested in other thoughts. 
The reason I mentioned track is the wide range of events offers a gateway for any athlete and the relative ease from a preparation perspective - fill up your water, put your shoes on, and let's go. i.e. a football OL is not going to burn up the track, but could excel at shot and disc and let's be real about football OL - the vast majority of them are adverse to conditioning. While they may go out for a track with a field event focus running is still a part of any good program. Competing in track won't get them in conditioning shape, but it'll put them in a better position to successfully navigate conditioning when the time comes.

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
Fair enough. I agree it’s great to expose kids to a bunch of activities. Prioritizing which to try is the problem. As there are really only a handful of sports people do into middles age and beyond, I’d try to include some kind of racket sport, running, cycling or swimming. Golf and skiing are also in the mix, though they can be prohibitively expensive, and neither really offers as much health benefits as the first group. And gyms have made climbing pretty accessible for all ages, too.

As far as injury risk, road cycling is problematic, as few areas have the infrastructure or culture to support it. And while I enjoy mountain biking, it definitely is an injury waiting to happen. I thought this was interesting to clarify the risk of injury from various activities for kids. It’s not surprising that football, basketball and cycling are at the top of the list, though we really need the denominator for each group to understand relative risk. Anecdotally, I know more middle aged dudes getting injured in the weight room or playing basketball than anything else.
I am really letting my kids take the lead on telling me what they like and how much they like it. 

My daughter plays basketball and volleyball. Volleyball is definitely her favorite sport. I offered her time in various camps/clinics for basketball and she was not interested (unless one of her friends or cousin is doing them) but Volleyball she is all up for. She passed on doing track and field. She also enjoyed archery and rock climbing but those are harder to have her involved in more logistically. She isn't extremely athletically minded. Even with Volleyball, it doesn't seem like she is driven. She has some athletic ability but not a ton. She surprisingly wanted to try out for the A team for basketball and unsurprisingly did not make it. She was happy not to make it as she knows she will have more playing time on B team even if she made the A. She might have made it if she went to the camps/clinics I offered. She has a lot of time this summer in volleyball camps/clinics so it will be interesting to see if she makes the A team this year for volleyball. 

My older son is sport crazy. He likes doing all sports (not much for watching). This is where priority comes hard as he is "yes" if I ask him what he wants to do. Football and soccer are his "tied" favorite sports with basketball and swimming right behind. So this summer, he is in a bunch of camps/clinics for mostly these sports though he is also in a 'multi-sport' camp. He has a good amount of natural athletic ability with a good mix of height, size, strength, and speed over his peers being well above average in all. He is entering the 4th grade so it is very early and with covid and all he didn't get much time in sports as all kids his age didn't. He was one of the better players in football, basketball, and soccer on his teams and has done well early on in swimming so far. As he gets older, I know he will still want to be play multiple sports but then there will need to be decisions made. I passed on club soccer just because I think it would be too much right now with all the other sports. As he gets older and his talent and desire gets more focused, he will likely need to make some decisions on priorities which may mean not playing some a sport or at least playing but having a focus on one or two. 

The little one is like his brother, he enjoys all sports. Basketball is his favorite sport and he is of age to where he was able to do more stuff this summer so he too is in a bunch of basketball, football and soccer camps/clinics. He seems to be similar to his brother in having natural athleticism and the physical attributes of height, strength, size and speed. He has a couple of years before the school sports start. We may look to get him into something before then as he really enjoys the basketball camps/clinics he has been in and it chomping at the bit to play in games/league. 

I think exposing them to different things is my job now and then after that listening. I don't force anything on them but do make it clear that if you do it then you DO IT. As they get older there will be decisions to be made and I think it will just need to be about communication without trying to push them in certain directions while giving fatherly advice and guidance.  

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
So having lived through the multiple sports to now serious with one on a high level I'll give my perspective. Keep in mind unlike @Chadstromawe are in a small town in eastern PA where everything is run by rec/youth leagues and schools don't offer sports until 7th grade or 9th grade depending on the sport.

Two boys, currently 18 and 15.  Sports played Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Racing (Go Karts), Golf

My just graduated 18 year old was the first to play starting with T-ball and soccer when he was in kindergarten for the local organizations. He stuck with baseball through age 16 although he only played two years of middle school and his freshman year in high school. He liked playing but isn't crazy competitive so he always played in the local rec league which was made up of teams from the various organizations across the county. He was done with soccer when they got out of the just kick around stage and started playing real games at U9, too much running. He likes the sport of basketball but his two attempts at playing (4th grade local rec team and 8th grade in middle school) didn't go well as it just isn't his sport. He played golf his freshman and sophomore year in high school. I wish he had been able to stick with it as he has some natural ability but he has some other learning issues that he decided not to. Hopefully now that he is out of school I can get him playing again with me. He also raced karts for about 5 years (10 to 15), we aren't talking your amusement park karts these were pure racing karts with a top speed of about 55mph. He'd like to get back into racing something but needs to work and contribute to it now that he is out of school. He never played more then one sport at a time other then racing but that was Sunday afternoons so it only rarely overlapped with baseball.

My 15 year old is the total opposite, he is very naturally gifted athletically (biggest indicator that he is adopted) and is very competitive.  He started playing soccer, baseball and basketball as soon as he was old enough. The only time we had overlap was age 8 to 11 the local soccer club had a short spring season that overlapped with baseball. Fortunately being a small town a lot of kids played both and the same group of core parents were the ones always coaching and running the organizations so we all worked together to try and limit conflicts. When there was everyone agreed the sport in season took precedence. So spring baseball came first, for a few of the kids that played fall baseball soccer came first. When the time came to move up to 12U baseball that required more commitment he decided that since soccer was his favorite sport he wanted to move to a more competitive travel club and stop playing baseball. We went along with that but he continued to play basketball on the local team and then in 7th and 8th grade as well. He even went back and played baseball in 8th grade for the middle school team because his buddies wanted him to and he batted over .400 on the season after not playing for over 3 years. That spring he also got the opportunity to train with and eventually get offered a spot on a very high level travel soccer team. At his choice last year going in to high school he decided to focus on soccer because he wants to play in college and playing at the level he does the travel and commitment really makes it hard to do anything else. He wanted to try volleyball this year but the games were all Tuesday and Thursday nights in the spring and his soccer team trains Tuesday and Thursday nights. He could have practiced but would never had made games.

While it was hectic when they were younger and both doing sports it was really only a couple springs that were crazy.  I was coaching both boys teams in baseball for the local league, my younger son was on the organizations tournament baseball team as well and playing spring soccer. On top of it I was President of the baseball association so had to deal with that.  Ate at the food stand a lot of nights and probably spent too much work time working on lineups but looking back it was a lot of fun and my wife was a great sport about running one kid to a practice while I was at another.

As a side note even now at 15 going on 16 I ask him every spring is he still having fun and enjoying it. The team he plays on is a huge commitment not only financially but also in his time. I always tell him you could step back a level and still play travel for a different club. He'd be a starter and hardly come off the field but he loves the challenge of the level he plays at and the fact the kids on the team push each other each and every practice. When it stops being fun he knows he can step back we aren't pushing him.
This is something I try to keep a focus on for myself. Through the shuttling and time/effort on my part (I do 90% of it for practices, games, etc) is just enjoying them enjoying sports. 

From coaching basketball (which I REALLY enjoyed for myself on top of enjoying being involved with my son) to even watching soccer (which has been a sport I have never had any interest in). I am try to be mindful of the present and enjoy it. 

 

Chadstroma

Footballguy
The reason I mentioned track is the wide range of events offers a gateway for any athlete and the relative ease from a preparation perspective - fill up your water, put your shoes on, and let's go. i.e. a football OL is not going to burn up the track, but could excel at shot and disc and let's be real about football OL - the vast majority of them are adverse to conditioning. While they may go out for a track with a field event focus running is still a part of any good program. Competing in track won't get them in conditioning shape, but it'll put them in a better position to successfully navigate conditioning when the time comes.
Oh yea, it is a great answer. I also think that getting good coaching in track is easily transferable to most sports as running is involved with many. There are finer points of running that are not typically taught in other sports but do help to get athletes faster as well as the field areas that can help in other parts of sports as well.

 

jobarules

Footballguy
This is driving me nuts as a coach and not sure what to do. We routinely have only 5-6 kids show up for our practices (for travel baseball 12u) on a team of 13. Between who has a conflict with other sports, or who has conflict with Little League games, or who has a conflict with All Stars. Always feels like we are the last priority. We tell all the parents practice time impacts playing time especially in tournaments when we have all 13 kids show up and we definitely are not batting all 13 in a game. I dont mind practicing with 5-6 because my son is always one of those practicing and he will continue to improve but there are a ton of things we cant work on without the majority of the team there. Really not sure what to do at this point. Cant exactly bench all 7 kids that dont show up.

 

Brunell4MVP

Footballguy
My kids are now older .. 22 and 19.  They played everything ... soccer, baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, swimming.  And I coached them in mostly basketball all the way through HS AAU.  They stopped swimming and tennis around age 12.  The others they played for a while.  They still play golf competitively, and play basketball for fun.

My take is going to be looking back on it ...

There are really two sides to the equation.  And you have to answer it fairly early on.  1)  if your kid can excel in a sport (and I mean like play high level college) they will not have the highest end opportunities unless a) they stick to that sport at an early age, or b) are an incredible athlete that is so big, fast and strong they will get the eye of college coaches even if they don't have the resume.   2) they are a good athlete, but unlikely to excel at a single sport so you give them the chance to do a lot of things.  But keep it to 1 sport per season.  2 is too many for a family to enjoy life.

We choose #2, and I regret it a bit but maybe wrongly so.  They did develop great mental skills and had eye coordination from playing so many things.  But they were super good at golf early on.  Shooting par around age 12..  Both are better than scratch still playing only a few times a year.  But because we didn't force it on them early, they didn't get into the AJGA and other big time events.  You simply can't get into those unless you start around age 11 and dedicate your self to the travel and time needed to get as good as possible.   Success at age 11 breeds opportunities at age 12, 13, 14, etc.  If you don't play good age 11, you will not get into top event.  And you really don't have to play that good, you just have to play to earn stars and points in their system.  Similarly, that will happen with other sports.  You kid will not get the same competitive access unless they dedicate to only it or maybe 2 sports only.

The college coaches won't pick you if you are a part-timer because it doesn't let them tell their AD that they have a 5 star recruit, or a top 100 player, or a kid with junior Olympic freestyle times of xx.  You simply can't get the accolades needed if playing 4+ sports.  My kid won a tournament beating players that went to top 20 college programs, and didn't even get a look from any of them.   Nor mid-level D1 programs.  They already had their recruits by freshman HS year even if they couldn't say so.  So while their recruits were shooting 75s, my kid shooting 68s was ignored.  His options were low level D1 programs, and why do that when you have a 4.5 GPA and can go to a top academic school.

So in retrospect, who knows.  Maybe going the one sport route would have been better.  But heck, maybe not.  Maybe they would have burnt out.  It's impossible to tell.

The odds of being a pro athlete are so slim.  Like .0001%.  Make them into a good kid with good grades.  Same if you are a coach.  Worry more about them as a person than as an athlete.  

 

Gally

Footballguy
This is driving me nuts as a coach and not sure what to do. We routinely have only 5-6 kids show up for our practices (for travel baseball 12u) on a team of 13. Between who has a conflict with other sports, or who has conflict with Little League games, or who has a conflict with All Stars. Always feels like we are the last priority. We tell all the parents practice time impacts playing time especially in tournaments when we have all 13 kids show up and we definitely are not batting all 13 in a game. I dont mind practicing with 5-6 because my son is always one of those practicing and he will continue to improve but there are a ton of things we cant work on without the majority of the team there. Really not sure what to do at this point. Cant exactly bench all 7 kids that dont show up.
Why not?  At that age you should be working on development and everyone on the team should get AB's.  In addition it allows for free substitution so you don't have guys sitting for lengths of time.  For the travel team I coached we hit everyone (which did cost us some wins....but who cares) and did cycle all players through most positions.  The more positions you can play the better off you will be down the road.  

As far as numbers at practice that can be frustrating however if they are missing to play other baseball games I would rather them do that.  Innings in game situations cannot be replicated at practice very well if at all (there is always a hint of practice speed or practice attitude plus fungos don't give you game type reads).  What we did for conflicts was to get confirmation that during our "season" (which was from April to August for games) we were the priority.  But we also stopped in August to allow other sports from August thru February/March.  So we didn't actually have a lot of conflicts.  

This goes back to communication.  If you communicate to the players (yes at that age you should start putting some onus on the players) and parents what you are expecting in season as far as practices/games and identify the consequences for missing.  Then follow up on the consequences if the expectations aren't met.  If you really don't want people missing practices and they do even with the expectations layed out then you should start to look at bringing in players that meet your expectations/requirements.   

 

SwampDawg

Footballguy
This is driving me nuts as a coach and not sure what to do. We routinely have only 5-6 kids show up for our practices (for travel baseball 12u) on a team of 13. Between who has a conflict with other sports, or who has conflict with Little League games, or who has a conflict with All Stars. Always feels like we are the last priority. We tell all the parents practice time impacts playing time especially in tournaments when we have all 13 kids show up and we definitely are not batting all 13 in a game. I dont mind practicing with 5-6 because my son is always one of those practicing and he will continue to improve but there are a ton of things we cant work on without the majority of the team there. Really not sure what to do at this point. Cant exactly bench all 7 kids that dont show up.
So sounds like most these conflicts are with other baseball teams so are they being run through different organizations?  When my kids played at that age the local association which was Cal Ripken affiliated had various levels. In-house teams which was the local league with neighboring organizations, Cal Ripken required all kids play a minimum number of games against other Ripken affiliated organizations to qualify for district and state play so everyone played on an in-house team. Then there was the tournament team that was the select team and played 5 or 6 tournament weekends and then the team that competed in districts and states. That team was usually 95% of the time the same kids as the tournament team but occasionally you had a kid that could do one but not the other for various reasons but was a good enough player he deserved to be there. But our same association over saw all three and worked hard to have practices not conflict and we wanted the better players at the in-house practices so they could help raise the bar for the other kids.

 
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Gally

Footballguy
The college coaches won't pick you if you are a part-timer because it doesn't let them tell their AD that they have a 5 star recruit, or a top 100 player, or a kid with junior Olympic freestyle times of xx.  You simply can't get the accolades needed if playing 4+ sports.  My kid won a tournament beating players that went to top 20 college programs, and didn't even get a look from any of them.   Nor mid-level D1 programs.  They already had their recruits by freshman HS year even if they couldn't say so.  So while their recruits were shooting 75s, my kid shooting 68s was ignored.  His options were low level D1 programs, and why do that when you have a 4.5 GPA and can go to a top academic school.
I disagree with this.  You can find a college to play at if you are an above average high school player in your sport.  It is a trade off and you need to decide what is important to you.  Is playing in college important to you.  If so, then you need to be your own advocate and you can find a school that you can play at.  However, if you want a name school only and that's the only place you want to play then you really limit your options.  Then you do have to be a top 1% in your sport and have some sort of advocate or  know someone to get the opportunities.  

I am not as familiar with golf but it seems that if he is shooting 68's that he should be able to walk on at some of those schools to get his shot and then earn scholarships from that.  

I do agree with your other comments but specializing too early is a good recipe for burnout.  There is a specific attitude/work ethic from a kid that will benefit from early specialization and even if they fit the elite description in your 1a section that doesn't mean they have the mental makeup to forego everything else to just focus on one sport.  That can be the quickest way to make a kid hate playing.  

 

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