Last week I was watching a program on cable television, I do not remember which station it was, however they were talking about organize sports and children. In particular young children. Like pre-school until middle school age children.
For years, well if I am honest, my entire life I have always believed and wholeheartedly supported youth organized sports. As something for children to do instead of sitting around having idle time. Go outside, run around, move a ball around in some fashion, bond with other children. Just have a great time. Shoot, I and my siblings all participated in organized sports from the time we were able to walk. From hockey, football, and soccer to volleyball, golf, and basketball. Even know I am still a great fan of each and every one of those sports activates.
However, with that being said. This program brought some things to light that I never considered. Such as when a child is made to do a very specific action like kick, a soccer ball or defend a goal. In repeated form such as in practice or training. His or her limbs, muscles, and joints are not being allowed to develop as they were created to do. To me it seems that running, jumping, skipping, whatever is all the same, right? Who cares if there is a direct purpose such as scoring a goal or defending a basket? Right?
Wrong. If you believe what they say. After some extensive research of a group children over a period of like fifteen years, they discovered those that waited later on in life to join any type of organized sporting endeavor were better develop physically. That their range of motion, flexibility, and health of bones and joints was far greater than those that were put into organized sports early in their lives.
So much so that those that did not experience the world of youth sports, when they became young adults and started competing in the schools and community athletic program. Those children were able compete and compete well. They exceeded against their counterparts seven to three with the males and five to two with the female subjects.
Apparently, there is a reason for a child to have a natural knack and affinity to playing. You know good old fashion playing, that may include but not limited to climbing trees, skipping rope, running in circles. Whatever kids would normally do without any provoking. This allows their tendons to stretch, it develop their muscles, and it will even increase their range of flexibility. All from random acts of playing. This allows them physical being to become agile and strong that can later on withstand the stresses of organized sports.
This all got me to thinking about my own children. Rather or not, they will be participating in the local youth athletic programs or if I should wait until they are older. After hearing some of my stories from my young days in sports, I know they are anxious to start. Nevertheless, I do not know now. I have no idea what to do in regards to my children playing on a sporting team when they are in preschool or kindergarten. However old they start playing kids around here.
I will tell you what this is something to consider. I will definitely give it some more thought.