The 4 Sports Every Youth Player
Should Participate In

It is widely known among youth development experts that youth should not participate in one sport year round due to emotional burnout, injuries, and regression in athletic development. Rather, they should participate in many seasonal sports.

I have read multiple articles about the 4 sports that every youth should participate in to develop a great athlete. The first time I read it was from Brian Grasso, so I will credit him.

Here are the sports:

  1. Gymnastics (Spring) - improves flexibility, strength, and body control & awareness. Did you know gymnasts are pound-for-pound the strongest people in the world?

  2. Soccer (Fall) - soccer increases strength in your legs, improves cutting skills, and foot-eye coordination.

  3. Martial Arts (Winter) - improves flexibility, striking skills, foot-eye and hand-eye coordination, and reaction time.

  4. Swimming (Summer) - Improves upper-body strength and flexibility. It also improves coordination between the upper-body and lower-body.

       
Picture by SD Dirk

I know each sport improves much more, but I wanted to keep it brief and simple. Often, fitness gurus use big words that we common-people don't understand.

I would also highly advise that you mix in other sports as well such as flag football, baseball, dance, softball, tennis, basketball, volleyball, bowling, golf, lacrosse, field hockey, ice hockey, and so on.

By the time the athlete enters middle school, he should be fast, quick, flexible, strong, and most importantly, injury-resistant. Not to mention, he'll develop emotionally and mentally as well.

In other words, he will be a great all-around athlete and person.

Remember, these sports can do more damage than good without a quality coach. So do your research before just putting your kids into a program.


Related Pages and Helpful Resources:

Bob Bigelow's Coaching Youth Basketball The Right Way
Youth Coaches: How Big Are Your Basketballs?
Why Every Youth Coach Should Avoid Assigning Positions
Coaching Youth Basketball - Drills, Offense, Tips, Etc.






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Comments

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Charlene Bakke says:
11/28/2012 at 5:57:23 PM

Don't forget flag/touch rugby. It is a growing sport in Canada and the US. It combines speed, agility, teamwork skills, kicking, running, and passing. It involves everyone on a continuous basis!

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Joe Haefner says:
11/29/2012 at 10:08:02 AM

Thanks, Charlene! I'm sure there are plenty more sports that I didn't include. The more, the merrier.

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MikeL says:
11/30/2012 at 10:50:31 AM

Kids should play whichever sports they like and avoid the others. Very few ever make college or pro, so Play for it's own sake.

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Joe Haefner says:
11/30/2012 at 11:48:11 AM

Great points, Mike.

It's important that we get the kids involved in a huge variety of sports, so they can choose.

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Rob McGowan says:
7/2/2014 at 3:10:52 PM

What should I expect when signing my son up for a gymnastics class? I''''m not familiar with what happens inside a gymnastics training facility. My only contact was for my daughter when she was in cheer, but I didn''''t observe the classes. I assumed they were learning things to help them do cheers only. Please excuse my ignorance.

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Jeff Haefner says:
7/2/2014 at 3:38:38 PM

Rob - It's depends on the age and who is teaching the class. But I can tell you that my son's class consists of things like stretching, trampoline, hanging from rings, hold in V position from rings, summersaults, balance, vault, pommel horse, and parallel bars. They run the kids through various exercises to build strength, coordination, and body control. Lots of strength built from using body weight. As parents we are able to watch if we want.

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