A sports parent asks:
My daughter is quite good at swimming but is only 8 years old. She has been put in a group with 12-15 year old’s and she is suddenly not wanting to go, and getting nervous. What do you think about younger children training with older children of the same ability?
I’m afraid I’m not going to give you a Yes or No answer about moving athletes up. But I will give you some things to think about as you make your decision.
Do you know kids on the team? Will they have trouble accepting a younger player who may come in and take someone’s spot? And how will the coach handle this situation? Will your child miss teammate friends her own age?
Playing Time Expectations
Sometimes kids get moved up because they are “needed” and end up not getting much playing time. And yes, sometimes they are really needed and do get lots of playing time. I’ve seen both scenarios.
Have a sit-down with the coach and find out exactly what his intentions are. Once your athlete knows, he can make an informed decision.
Find out if your child must choose: playing time or an opportunity to be challenged in practice and perhaps in the game.
Some kids mature faster
Dr. Patrick Cohn, from Peaksports, explains that “Some kids will naturally mature faster and might benefit from playing up—and competing with older kids. They may be bored if you hold them back as they don’t feel challenged.”
On the other hand, he adds, “But staying at a lower level also means building confidence through greater success and being more comfortable with athletes your own age.”
If your child is more mature physically and skillfully, moving up may be appropriate, just to keep him from hurting smaller kids.
But does he need confidence building–by staying with his own age players–more than a challenge? Your call.
Try the 3:1 ratio
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