Crushing kids with workouts and at practice negatively impacts them mentally, physically, and emotionally. Pushing and working them out hard, you think, would be great. However, there are negative effects and impacts that you should know. Training and sport need to build good values from participation, having fun, and competition, not pressure and intimidation to be stronger, faster, and having to win.
Mentally kids are fragile. They are not yet structured nor built to persevere or even understand what it means. They know to go out and play their best and have fun playing. I started playing sports at the age of 5. Many times it was challenging, but it was also fun. I was never pushed to be the best. I was always instructed about how to be better and to just play the game the best I could with my effort. If we won great. If we lost no worries. I went home and played with my friends and forgot all about it. The thing is, you cannot turn your child into something he or she is not. By crushing them with physical activity or workouts, it will cause them to mentally withdraw, not only from the sport and practice, but it will trickle into other aspects of their life, like their health, academics, work, career, and behavior.
Children need to have fun to create their own identity. Observe how they take on challenges. Then, if they are interested, you can push them and then back off intermittently to influence and inspire them. You want to teach your child to engage and participate, not retract and pull back. However, having fun is the best way to get anyone, children and adults, to engage, understand and develop themselves.
Physically pushing kids too much can lead to injuries. It can also relay unconscious messaging that it is ok to play injured and that injuries are a part of the game. Maybe in the 1970s and '80s in professional sports, this idea was true. But today, it is widely seen that overtraining does produce injuries. Overtraining is just that, overtraining. There needs to be a balance between a child's life, training, practice, and sport that creates a positive adaptation physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Kids not only need guidance on the field, they need guidance in performance and physical preparation. Longevity in sport may mean nothing to a kid at the time. However, longevity needs to be understood and made a reality if sports will be pursued in the future. Without balance, it will trigger mental and emotional issues disheartening and demotivating them.
Emotionally kids are not developed. Trying to push a child who is not developed emotionally can lead to emotional stress, low self-esteem, and depression. Coaches need to plan effective training strategies that are fun and safe as well as challenging for kids. If a coach can provide that, kids can start to figure out how to push themselves, and most importantly, on their own time and experience. It will not produce emotional trauma or baggage.
Trying and striving to be the best is perfectly ok. However, coaches should be teaching kids how to be better and guide them correctly to take on a path of playing sports. To abuse, the sport performance of a child for selfish gain to win, leads them in the wrong direction. Children are sponges, so you have to be careful of the words, actions, and intentions they are absorbing. In the future, it could detract them from playing, and they may develop an issue with physical activity, identifying with the same feeling they were trying to escape from when they were younger. Understand that there is no price you can pay to be the best, so don't make your kids pay or overpay the price of being young.
Coach and Parents Tip Corner
When you take the fun out of the game, it decreases a child's interest in playing. There is too much pressure placed on winning rather than enjoying.
If your child appears to be really tired or has a problem recovering from workouts and practice, he or she is training too much and too hard.
Stay informed about strength, speed, and fitness. Crushing workouts on the field and in the gym will not make your child stronger, in fact, those workouts, will make him or her weaker and more prone to injury physically. And, this also leads to a negative impact mentally and emotionally and teaches your child to lose interest in other aspects of life.
Recognize when to push and challenge your kids. Let them have fun and laugh. They will figure things out for themselves; what they like and dislike, and you can guide them from there. Don't let the scoreboard be so important.
Create the correct norm and environment for your kids. Most kids think crushing workouts make them better. That body, muscle, or joint pain is ok to be endured. It is not. If you want your child to play sports and possibly have a career in it, then educate him or her properly about injuries and learn to prevent them.
Play good old fashion games like tag and dodgeball. These games are fun, and the kids can laugh and be serious at the same time. These games are great to improve reactionary skills for kids too!
Train the child's cardiovascular system and movement and functional skills using bodyweight exercises. Climbing is a great functional strength exercise using the whole body. Teach them how to move better, how to kick, shoot or throw effectively and correctly. Kids should not be in the gym using weights until 15-16 years old.
Have your child play different sports throughout the year to develop them physically and mentally. My parents did this to me. I played baseball, basketball, indoor soccer, and soccer. After many years, I told my parents I only wanted to play soccer and was not interested in the other sports. They said ok as long as you played one sport.
According to Blaise Nemeth, MD, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, Nemeth says, " Kids should practice organized sports no more than 1 hour per year of age every week. For example, a 12-year-old should have no more than 12 hours a week of baseball practice and games. Those who go over this limit are more likely to get injured. Young athletes who spend twice as many hours playing organized sports than they do in free play each week are also more likely to get hurt -- especially if they focus on just one activity."
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