Derwood wrote:There's an interesting gray area when it comes to pushing your child to be the best vs letting him or her be a kid. When my daughter swam competitively, there was an 8 year old boy who was an amazing swimmer. He competed against 9 and 10 year olds and won. He set local YMCA records in nearly every event he swam.
It wasn't just natural talent, though. This kids father made him come to the YMCA every day before school to swim laps for an hour (in addition to another 90 minutes of practice each night). To me, that seemed like a lot for an 8 year old. Now I never saw any verbal abuse or "from the stands" coaching from the father, nor did I see any outward disappointment in second place finishes, so, as I said, it's a sort of fuzzy territory
No it's not. There is never, ever any reason to wreck a kids childhood with that sort of schedule at that age. If he's going to be a great swimmer, he'll be a great swimmer regardless of the extra work. In fact, in a sport like swimming, you're probably stunting his ability to truly be great by working him that hard that young. Kids should be kids and play every sport they want to growing up and not specialize like many are forced to at such young ages. If they truly have an exceptional aptitude for a particular sport, it'll be very obvious without all that extra work. Now, once they hit high school and have figured out what that sport is, go for it and specialize, but it's so much better for developing bodies to not have that wear and tear on a particular set of muscles/ligaments/tendons by constantly exerting them by playing one sport all the time.
I like beer.