If you are married, there wasn’t really a book that you read on how to have a great marriage.  I’m sure there are actually plenty of books on that subject, but most people don’t read them.  Thus, you find out a lot about what married life is like by experiencing it.

With that in mind, there are some things that aren’t said to parents of athletes.  They are just there for parents to find out about them on your own.  I want to shed a light on 5 of these items for you.

If you can become more aware of these as your athlete progresses through his/her athletic career, you will definitely help them out more.

These are in no particular order:

  1. Most sport camps are a waste of your money. Let me add to this, that if you are going to a camp to impress a coach and be noticed, then it is not a waste of money.  Meaning, a high schooler going to a college camp for a college he/she wants to attend.  Or a middle schooler going to his/her high school camp.  Otherwise if you are going to a “skills” camp that is 2-5 days long I would save your money.  Spend it on private instruction.  Remember, when you went to a sport camp back in the day?  Did you do any of the drills they suggested to make you better?  Probably not.  Did you miraculously become better after that week camp?    The only way those camps are beneficial is if you take what they suggest and do them on your own.  You’re better off, hiring a private coach and getting more one-on-one type training.
  2. If you just work on developing the skill, you are rolling the dice that an injury won’t happen. Working on the skill of the game is important, but you need to do some type of performance training.  At the very least, this is to help prevent injury.  Meaning, you work on the skill doing the same movement patterns all the time, you will inevitably develop muscle imbalances.  These imbalances WILL lead to injuries.  Yes, performance training will help your speed and strength, but first and foremost it should be to reduce the chance of injuries happening.
  3. Most of you will need to do your due diligence and be PROACTIVE with your college recruiting. It is the small percentage of athletes that get their doors beaten down by college coaches.  They just sit back and let the offers come flying in.  The rest of us will have to let college coaches know that you are interested in playing for them.  I don’t care how good you think you are or what awesome team you play for, you are going to have to do a lot of the leg work in order to get a scholarship offer.
  4. Avoid the knee jerk reaction of working with a coach who was a professional athlete or big time college stud. I’m not saying those coaches can’t be good, but once again, do your due diligence.  Just because they have Super Bowl rings or 10 years in the show, doesn’t mean they know how to coach your young athlete.  They really need to understand young athletes and have a pedigree of working and developing them.  Your young athlete needs a routine suited for young athletes not a professional.
  5. Kids should absolutely not specialize in a sport until they are 13 MINIMUM. The research is out and it shows that your athlete will optimize all of his/her potential by playing multiple sports, but if you absolutely feel you have to pick one sport it should be no earlier than age 13.  The body is still growing and maturing.  The different movement patterns and skills that are developed by playing multiple sports is absorbed by your athlete.  If you limit it to one sport too soon, they will be missing out on valuable athletic development that could prove useful when your athlete decides to chose one sport.

If you can understand these 5 concepts, you might have a little bit more fun with your athlete’s development.  And that is the key word – FUN – for you and your kids.