When To Limit An Athlete To One Sport?

When To Limit An Athlete To One Sport?

There is no real answer.
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This is a question that doesn't really have a clear answer. Whenever you have incredibly athletic kids, sometimes it can be hard to choose when it is time to pick a sport and stick with that one or let them play all of them.

This was what my parents struggled with when my sister and I were growing up. Being the oldest in my family, I do not think that they expected me to be as athletic as I turned out to be. My first year of soccer all I did was kick the ball out of bounds because I thought that was a good thing. One day I guess a switch flipped and I became fast and talented. My sister had to go to my games, and being only eighteen months apart she looked up to me and wanted to play soccer as well.

Soon after I was playing all of the sports, as was my sister. We were playing softball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball. I remember my other friend's parents told them to pick one or two sports and only do those. My parents never made me or my sister do that. I liked all of them and I was good at all of them. Every season I had something new to look forward to. Also, I don't think that my parents had the heart to make me give up one.

My sister ended up quitting softball in third grade, narrowing her down to only volleyball, basketball, and softball. She didn't seem too upset about it, but there was no way I wanted to quit softball- I loved it, so I kept playing. However, because my sister quit she was able to focus more on other sports. We were very young, but my sister was attending more and more soccer practices that I wasn't able to attend over the summer because of softball. She was getting faster, more in shape, and had better ball skills.

Freshman year I went into high school and finally had to make a decision. Softball and volleyball were the same season and I had to choose between one of them. I was completely torn because although I was better at volleyball, I enjoyed softball more. I ended up going with softball. I missed volleyball a lot, though, but I also enjoyed the season that I played in softball. That freshman year I also played basketball and then soccer.

The next year, I let my friends talk me into playing volleyball instead of softball. I went to volleyball practice and was excited to finally make a comeback and play again. However, being there was kind of boring and I immediately wished I would have gone to softball instead. I dealt with my decision and kept going with my volleyball tryouts. We had to run the mile in volleyball. I've always had a lot of stamina and could run pretty fast, so I finished first by about a lap. This is when the cross country coaches approached me and asked me to run cross country instead of playing volleyball. I went home and thought about it, then decided that cross country was probably a lot better for me, so that's what I did.

Cross country season was fun. I learned a lot of new things, but it was also very tough. Out of all the sports I played in my life, cross country was probably the most difficult. I was going to three practices in one night (cross country, basketball, and soccer), hardly eating, and staying up until one o'clock in the morning to do homework. My legs started failing on me and it was incredibly hard to keep up. After this cross country season, I decided it was time to cut down to two sports: soccer and basketball. It was weird having a break in the fall, or somewhat of a break because I was still playing soccer that season as well. It was something that I wasn't used to, though. I got bored.

My sister is an example of singling yourself to one sport. She went into high school and didn't want to play volleyball at all and by her sophomore year she decided basketball was too much so she quit that as well. She was able to only focus on soccer and nothing else. Because of this, she got a lot better and faster and stronger in soccer.

The difference between my experience in sports and hers was I was playing to have fun and she was playing to go somewhere. I didn't have the mental focus to only play one sport, I loved them all. Although I was passionate about soccer, I was also passionate about basketball and the other two sports. She wanted to go division one in soccer. She had a goal in her mind and did what she needed to do to get to that goal. I had the memories of being a part of five different teams in my high school years. I have a memory from every sport and every season I had something new to look forward to. I didn't end up where my sister did though, because my time was split between multiple sports.

I know my sister wouldn't have it any other way. She loved soccer more than anything else in this world. She was very good at it. She ended up going to Indiana State University on a soccer scholarship. She ended up breaking many records for her high school team, and being the star. She reached her full potential, or at least got very close to it because she completely dedicated herself to that sport.

I, also, wouldn't have it any other way. I got to experience a little bit of everything, and I enjoyed all of it. Every season I had something new to look forward to. I was the most in shape I had ever been in my life from the sprints, long distance, and weight training all combined. I never peaked, though. I never reached what I really could have been in basketball or soccer because I was always focused on something else in the off season. This didn't matter to me, though, because my heart was truly in every sport that I played. When I didn't come back for cross country my junior year, I did start to focus more on soccer. This was when I started to get burnt out. It was too much and I started to not feel the same. If I would've played a fall sport, I honestly don't think I would have been burnt out on soccer. I would've been dying waiting for the season to start.

So, if you have a kid who is extremely athletic, or if you are that kid who is extremely athletic, ask yourself what your goal is. Are you playing these sports to have fun and experience high school or are you looking to go to a division one school and be extremely competitive? Do you truly have a passion for all the sports you play, or do you dread going to the practices and games of one of them? Are you the type of person that would get bored or burnt out only playing one sport or do you love that one sport enough to where you will never lose interest in it? No matter what decision you make, if its to cut out all the sports except one or play them all, you won't regret it.

Cover Image Credit: The Eagle's Eye

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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

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There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

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The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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Yes, Being 'The Smart Kid' Comes With Its Disadvantages, Too

It is time to create a culture both in and out of the classroom that being smart or doing well in school isn't a personality trait.

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There's always a few you know. She's the teacher's pet, she asks if that homework was due today and she makes a 95% when everyone else failed the exam. It's easy to dislike her because it's much harder to understand her.

I grew up being that girl. And I know a lot of people disliked me for it.

I grew up with people secretly thinking I was unapproachable, snobby or anti-social. They thought I was in constant competition with others to be the best of the best. They couldn't fathom why I signed up for every club and AP class.

Being a top student quickly became a burden rather than a personal achievement. Though I found fulfillment in doing well at a task set before me, I struggled in other areas of my school experience.

The perceptions of other people placed me in a box that I couldn't get out of.

I didn't get invited out to any of the late-night events or parties because obviously, the only thing I can do is study. It was a complete taboo to share test grades because it would seem like I would be bragging. I'd carefully time the number of times I would speak up in class so I would get less dirty looks for prolonging a lecture. Teachers would ask if I was okay if I made less than a B+ on an assignment.

The truth is, being labeled the smart kid was very anxiety-inducing. I was afraid others would think I was constantly looking to brag about my accomplishments when we were talking. I was afraid to offer advice or tips on an assignment, so it didn't seem like I was telling them my ideas were superior.

I've always found strength in doing well in school, but it has also led me to be perceived as a certain kind of person.

It is time to create a culture both in and out of the classroom that being smart or doing well in school isn't a personality trait. Us smart kids do more than reading books and do homework in advance (I swear). We hate assignments, we love all of the current music and we procrastinate, too. We're also young adults or teenagers that go out and make bad decisions.

Yes, we do well in school, but we struggle to talk to other classmates because our name has been thrown around the school and announced for various achievements.

We want to do well for ourselves, but also for the countless people that expect it of us. The truth is, smart kids are people pleasers. We enjoy helping our teachers out and making our parents proud.

And we shouldn't be considered different because of it.

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