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Sports specialization trend costs teens
The trend toward specialization in youth sports, in which athletes play one sport year round for expensive travel and club teams, has had a significant impact on traditional high school programs, which have declined in popularity and participation. The specialization trend has hurt baseball at Serra San Mateo, and it "definitely" has hurt his football program, Walsh said. Club sports have "devoured" high school soccer, he said.
"A lot of kids feel they have to play 70 baseball games in a summer or play basketball for an AAU team," Walsh said. "Our preseason is the summer. We've had a lot of very good athletes quit football because of that."
Specialization didn't wreak as much havoc on head coach 's program at for seven years before he moved to this year.
"A good, strong program, it's not going to affect that much," he said, "but it's really a disservice to the kids. It's sad. High school sports are about building the coach wristlet outlet price whole person. This cuts off one of the arms."
, who has one of the most successful girls basketball programs in Northern California at Mitty San Jose, thinks every high school would benefit from having more multi sport athletes.
"That's not what's happening," she said. "It's unfortunate, and the kids are missing out."
Kids less versatile
Walsh and Peralta say they feel sorry for athletes who don't play more than one sport in high school. When a youngster focuses on one sport year round, they say, it becomes a job, not a pastime. It's also not healthy physiologically to use the same muscles all the time, they say.
Those who specialize miss a chance to form friendships with a different group of students, according to all three coaches. The kids don't get the life lessons another coaching staff can impart. They might be exercising in the offseason, but they're not competing.
Athletes' grades are often higher in season, many coaches say, because students are forced to budget their time better. Because of practices and games, they have little or no time coach outlet factory store online to waste. What's more, they know that if they fail to pass muster academically, they won't play. The more time they spend in season, the better.
The Lamorinda (Lafayette Moraga Orinda) area, where worked as Campolindo athletic director before retiring this year, is known for its strong, sometimes feverish, parental involvement in academics and athletics. Parents sometimes put pressure on athletes of average talent to specialize because "their kids are on the bubble," Wilson said. That is, they're on the margin of making a roster or getting regular playing time.
"We emphasize coach for men outlet that's not what we want. We encourage kids to go out for as many sports as you can. Leave the door open. That's one reason we were successful" in many sports, he said.
The call to specialize
Some high school coaches encourage specialization. They might think the success of their programs, and their jobs, depends on kids maximizing skills in their sport.
The coach outlet shop athletes most susceptible to the call coach factory outlet online sale to specialize are not stars but middle of the road players, according to Miramonte Orinda girls basketball coach .
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