All parents desire the same thing for their kids: Success. However they choose to measure and define it- Success is what we all want for kids.
Achieving success by over-commitment jeopardizes your child’s success at the expense of others. Over-commitment of activities can also put your child at risk in regards to injuries.
Seeing the forest through the trees is very important for every parent signing a child up for multiple activities. How does signing up for multiple activities affect others? Though playing multiple sports increases knowledge, confidence, and sporting self-esteem, playing multiple sports at the same time can create controversy and unfair situations surrounding practice time, or lack thereof. It also creates problems regarding playing time. Another major aspect is making a team, then not committing to it, keeps a more committed player from being selected to the team. To be honest, in most cases, over-commitment is both self-serving and inconsiderate.
In many instances, parents are oblivious to the fact the over- commitment of their child adversely impacts the teams he is playing on. For instance, if your child attends a practice infrequently or dashes off to another practice prior to the one he is already at, your child might be leaving his team shorthanded- Forcing the coach to change the practice because of your scheduling. Your child should not expect to play in the next game as much as you may think he should.
Playing time in games is the reward for working hard at practice and being committed to the team.
Unless your child is injured or sick, you should never expect a sizable amount of playing time if he has not been attending practice on a consistent basis. It is disruptive to the coach and other members of the team. By not being at practice, chances are your child is less familiar with plays, strategies, teammates and expectations.
A good coach recognizes great effort and attitude- not entitlement. A good coach also knows a player should earn everything. Parents should realize that too.
The political effect of over commitment trickles down to his/her teammates and other parents too. It places the over committed player under scrutiny, whether fairly or unfairly- it really does. People look at the player differently. If he/she makes a mistake, people naturally chalk it up to not practicing enough.
As baffling as it may be, I have seen kids leave twenty minutes into an hour and a half basketball practice, go to part of a soccer practice, then rush to play in a baseball game. What kind of message does this send? It’s not important to learn or focus? Don’t finish what you started- Don’t follow through? Instead of building qualities such as trust, cooperation and loyalty, over-commitment instills entitlement and selfishness. Not the best attributes for a person playing a team sport and certainly not the best way to develop passion, aptitude and a good attitude for a sport. Over-commitment might be the single greatest way to drive kids out of playing a particular sport.
Parents must also remember that different muscle groups are used for playing different sports. Think about it. Your child has just played an hour of soccer; he jumps into a car where his legs will surely get stiff as he rides to a baseball game. He starts throwing baseballs without warming up because he has been hurried from one activity to another without the time to properly warm-up. Injuring an arm or straining a leg muscle is very possible, especially in colder weather
Kids are young for a reason. Let them be kids. They have plenty of time to embrace a sport they love to play. The chance of injury increases when they are fatigued. Don’t risk injury by having them play too many organized sports in one day.
Kids need time to rest to become stronger, to rejuvenate themselves, to reflect upon what they’ve done, or been involved in. There is way too much of an “instant gratification” mentality in today’s society. While playing youth sports, there is no need to do everything at once while succeeding at nothing.
Bottom line: Be a mindful parent and your young athletes will learn to be mindful too.