Is your child a different genius?
SOME kids are blessed with having a great ear for the violin, or seem to pick up algebra with ease. Let’s not forget about the child who easily picks up a pirouette or a cricket bat, though. While physical activity often takes a back seat to academic pursuits at schools, this is at a cost to our kids and their future potential.
Playing sport is not only good for kids’ health, it’s also a good way to keep them learning at school. Researchers from the Universities of South Carolina and Pennsylvania State who tracked 9700 students aged 14-18 found teenagers who belonged to school sports clubs, as opposed to drama or debating, were more likely to finish school and go on to tertiary study.
Not all our kids have the ability or desire to be academics. If your child has a gift for a sport it can provide them with an amazing range of experiences which could include meeting new teammates and mentors, travel, options for education and work overseas, confidence building, and learning to focus and work towards a goal.
While supporting your child to play sport is important, balancing sport with academic and family commitments is also important. A number of sports require an extreme commitment from children, despite the abundance of research showing that early specialisation and over-training in sport can cause early burnout as well as injuries to growing bodies.
A crucial time to manage training for kids is when they are going through phases of rapid growth (known as Peak Height Velocity – PHV). In boys this usually occurs at 12-14 years, and a touch earlier in girls at 11-13 years. Growing bones and tissues do need special attention during this time. Rapidly growing muscles and bones can cause muscle imbalances and detrimental changes in flexibility and movement. We always suggest to parents that they closely monitor training volume during this time. A good rule of thumb is that there should be less than 16 hours of training/competing a week.
As with most pursuits in life, preparation is key. Helping your child prepare for training is the best thing you can do as a parent. This could include optimising their nutrition, sleep, strength and conditioning work, and psychological support to deal with the pressure of training, competing, winning and losing.
We’ve been lucky enough to help kids travel the world and compete at the highest level, get scholarships to universities, and learn how to manage themselves and their bodies at the highest levels of competition. These achievements have been life-changing for them and their entire family.
If you’ve got a young sports person who we can help to achieve their future potential we’d love to talk to you. Give me a call on 07 5479 3411.
Sport can open many doors for children.