Is your team a recreational team or competitive team? I’m asked this question a lot as a youth sports coach.
While I appreciate how league organizers use these designations to seed teams in their respective leagues in an effort to create less variance in team’s skill levels, I think it’s important parents and players don’t get tied to these “tags”.
At the end of the day, our teams will be as competitive as the players prove they are capable of and the parents are willing to support. I’m a devout supporter of children playing multiple sports, concentrating the bulk of their time and attention on the sport that is currently in season. Specialization has it’s place, but not until an athlete nears the completion of their middle school years. Making a decision earlier than 7th or 8th grade is doing a huge disservice to the youth athlete.
Could we produce a better baseball team if the boys concentrated 100% of their youth sports attention on getting better at baseball? Most likely is the answer to that question. But is our objective to win games at the age of 8, or development young athletes for long term success? I’ll opt for the latter every time.
As a result of our focus on Fun, Development and Learning to Compete the boys involved in our program will master the art of learning a new skill, have the freedom to incorporate the new skill in a game situation and embrace the challenge of giving their best effort in everything they do.