For generations, elite athletes around the world developed without extended playing seasons, unlimited games, travel teams, personal trainers or their parents having to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars so they could play a sport.
Today’s youth sports culture, with its overemphasis on playing games versus recognizing the value of practice can undermine skill development in younger athletes.
More importantly, a narrow focus on the outcomes of competition has been proven to be counterproductive to becoming a healthy, whole child.
Developing and improving athletic performance is a dynamic process, not an event. Several essential building blocks form the foundation for developing a complete athlete.
Speed, agility, muscular strength, flexibility, balance, emotional toughness and proficiency in sport specific skills are actually more important because they are the skills athletes use when they compete.
Competition or playing in games is only one of those essential building blocks. Children, particularly younger children, develop social skills, learn to apply rules, tactics and game strategies during real competition that cannot be replicated by other means.
It’s understandable if sports parents believe their daughters and sons will be hurt athletically if they are not able to play in games because of the efforts to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Rather than worry about what your children may lose, this new normal may open the door to an extraordinary opportunity. Parents, kids and coaches can take a step back, reflect, reset, refocus and re-imagine other ways to develop young healthy athletes and improve performance.
So going forward, follow recommended health guidelines, use this guide to organize some activities, but give your kids the freedom to play on their own.
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