Summer is quickly approaching, but should your child play on multiple teams at the same time? Amazingly, the multi-sport, same season athlete is quickly becoming the norm, with more kids than ever deciding to commit to 2 (or more) teams at the same time. As with most things in life, there are pros and cons to this decision that should be weighed:
- Its fun to play multiple sports.
- Kids meet new friends, coaches, and enjoy new and different experiences.
- The commitment to sports provides structure, and prevents kids from getting in to trouble.
- Great exercise physically, and sports provide tremendous life skills and learning opportunities, too.
- More sports can lead to greater risk for injuries and sports burnout.
- Multiple sports usually means more money, more time, and more travel (not always easy for families)
- Incredibly difficult to fully commit to both teams, as ultimately schedule conflicts require one team to lose.
- Over-committing to sports could lead to an earlier quitting of sports due to cumulative burnout when sports are no longer fun.
When it comes to youth sports in the United States today, the trend is definitely more, not less. What this means is that there will be even more pressure in the future for sports parents to sign their kids up for travel leagues, as well as multiple sports at the same time. It is for these reasons that parents stop, think through all options, and make unique decisions based on the needs and interests of their child — not because it seems like “everybody is doing” something else.
The general rule of thumb is to develop a sports schedule that is fun for your child, and doesn’t immediately start to feel like a job. Additional ideas include developing a balanced schedule that include other, non-sport activities; focusing on life skills development as you do on-field sport success; and taking a birds-eye examination of all the commitments and responsibilities your child has with respect to his or her sports schedule.
What tips do you have for sports parents facing the multiple sport, same season decision? What factors did you consider if you went through this decision yourself?