Skyhawks News
Try Everything This Summer!

May 9th, 2017

This article was written by Skyhawks Franchise Owner Brett Gardner and is cross-posted from Redwood City Parks, Recreation & Community Sevices blogClick Here To View The Original Aricle.

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Much has been written over the past several years about specializing in one sport vs. letting kids play as many sportsas possible. There is all this literature that benchmarks what age kids should be when they specialize. I come down firmly in the camp of NEVER. Unless your child is an elite gymnast or dancer, there is no argument to be made for specializing in a sport. Ask professional athletes how many of them “specialized” in the sport they now play. I’d hazard a guess that the answer is none.

But, sports have gotten really out of hand thanks to the business model behind competitive sports. Coaches are hired to develop players for college sports programs. That’s what they are paid to do. I hear parents talking about this even with a team of eight-year-olds!

If you are reading this and you have teenagers, I hope you’re nodding your head in agreement. Parents of younger children, read on. Sports is not a career for your child. It’s an activity and it should be one of many.

But, more importantly, not all kids like sports. As the parent of two very athletic children and the owner of a company that runs sports camps, I should be shouting from rooftops about the benefits of sports. But, I have also seen what happens when kids are pushed too hard.

I am a big believer in the “try everything” model of parenting. You never know what’s going to stick. When my kids were little, we tried it all — from ball sports to gymnastics to theater to martial arts to dance.  Some of it stuck and much of it didn’t. The questions we asked our kids were, “was it fun?” and “did you learn anything worthwhile?” Next, we asked them if they wanted to do that activity again.

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With child number one, the answer was invariably, yes. With the other one, it was almost always, NO! Different kids, different interests. Even though child number one seemed to like everything and child number two seemed to hate most things, I still think the try everything model was good for both of them.

With limited time during the school year, we often used summer camps to let our kids try different activities. Many families didn’t understand why we would do this. If my daughter was “an athlete,” why weren’t we sending her only to sports camps? She plays ball sports nine months out of the year. Does she really need more sports at age eight? We thought it was far more important for her to experience different things. So we encouraged her to try science camps, cooking lessons, etc. She loved some of them and was less enthusiastic about others. But, she got to try something new, which was the most important thing.

As summer is looming, think about things your kids have never done before.  It could be a new sport, like flag football. Or, it could be dance or robotics. Try everything. You just never know what will stick!

Baseball Hall of Famer John Smoltz on the Benefits of Playing Multiple Sports

May 31st, 2016

Speaking at an MLB event at the Field of Dreams movie location, the newly elected Hall-of-Famer weighed in on the importance of playing multiple sports year round, rather than focusing solely on a single sport like baseball all year round. 

“People think you have to play year around to be able to eventually play professional baseball or basketball or football. That’s simply not true,” Smoltz said. “I love where I grew up (Lansing, Mich.). Seasonal changes meant seasonal sports. I played three of them. The opportunity to get outside and play sports is one of the greatest things kids have.

“I know there are a lot of distractions, a lot of technology,” Smoltz said. “But playing year around, in places like the South and the West, is just not as advantageous as people think. The history of injuries, all the things that go on, that’s why places like here and Michigan and the Midwest, getting the opportunity to play seasonal sports and be athletic is something that ... parents, you just don’t understand how much time your children have.

“As a player who grew up and loves sports, who got a chance to play multiple sports, and that’s the reason I was able to play baseball as long as I did (21 years). It’s the reason, for the most part, that I stayed as healthy as I did. I didn’t consume myself with one sport."

If there's one thing Smoltz knows, its longevity. Smoltz pitched in the majors for 21 seasons with the Braves, Red Sox and Cardinals. 

Sign up your young athlete for a new sport at a Skyhawks Sports Academy summer program! Find programs near you at Skyhawks.com/search

This article contains exerpts originally published on May 28 at bit.ly/1TluCPR

Try Everything This Summer! Baseball Hall of Famer John Smoltz on the Benefits of Playing Multiple Sports All News
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