I recently came across an article by Time on Sept 2017. "How Kids’ Sports Became a $15 Billion Industry"
The article speaks about the amount of time and money invested by the parents, hoping to groom the potential in their little loved ones into solid competitive players in the future.
However, this misconception is widely abused by many and we've seen early specialization and athletic success at a young age, but not in the senior circuit.
We see benefits from other aspects as well, kids increasing their social abilities, learning to respect their opponents, and friendships blooming even when the kids are not from the same school or club. Parents also bond with each other during practices and competition days, sharing the same passion for the sport.
There is a trend of sports companies offering kids boot-camps, clubs and academies, monthly "friendly" tournaments and competitions. I would say this is the effect of demand and supply. Parents will prepare their kids for the competition and of course with the "winning mindset", they request for higher frequency and intensity of training.
However, intense specialization can also tax minds. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “burnout, anxiety, depression and attrition are increased in early specializers.” The group says delaying specialization in most cases until late adolescence increases the likelihood of athletic success.
I personally feel that kids training should start young, but with the FUN component ranked first in priority, equipping them with multi-movement skills, balance, rhythm and coordination. Kids being kids, they will never complain that they're tired. I believe in keeping the training volume low, focusing on playing some games to let them explore and be creative, training their physique and also working on their cognitive ability.
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