A  A  A   Print
Make Variety a Goal in Kids' Sports

Make Variety a Goal in Sports

Venus Williams was practicing her backhand before she started kindergarten. Tiger Woods showed off his putting skills on the evening news at age 2.

But for every prodigy who grows into a successful athlete, thousands of youths suffer physically or psychologically from being pushed to compete at a young age. For that reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children avoid specializing in a sport until they reach adolescence.

The repetitive motions often demanded by intense training in a single sport can cause overuse injuries, such as stress fractures or tendonitis. Overtraining also can contribute to psychological damage, including depression.

Avoid sports burnout

Here are ideas for parents:

  • Keep it fun.

  • Check your attitude. The AAP identifies parental pressure as one of the factors that results in overtraining among children and adolescents. 

  • Don't let your child play when he or she is injured or feeling pain.

  • Make sure your child is learning skills, not focusing on competition.

  • Track your child's growth. Is he or she getting taller? Putting on weight?

  • Offer your child a variety of physical activities until at least age 12 or 13. You can find national exercise guidelines and activity examples for children and adolescents at the CDC website.

Remember that the goal of sports for children and adolescents is to instill a lifelong love of activity and fitness. Do your best to help your children find sports that they enjoy--and remember the sports they enjoy may not be the same ones you want them to enjoy! 

 
Today's Interactive Tools

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.