5 Reasons You Need to Say No to Year Round Sports for Your Kids

year round sports

Have you succumbed to the pressure of year-round sports for your kids yet? We don’t mean doing baseball in the spring and football in the fall, we mean doing one sport all year, every month. It sounds like a good thing to do—find a sport that your child has a natural inclination for and help them reach their potential by concentrating on it solely. But that approach has more drawbacks than positives.

In fact, our pediatrician told us that doing one sport year round can hurt growing bodies. The experts back him up. Children’s bodies can’t handle the repetitive motion that playing one sport all year brings.

Here are 5 reasons you need to say no to year-round sports for your kids.

1. It’s tough on growing bodies.

Children’s bodies are not miniatures of adult bodies.  Their bodies are growing at a rapid rate. To grow properly, their body needs rest from repetitive motion.

2. It can build unrealistic expectations.

It’s only natural for kids and parents to think that great rewards await if they give their all to a sport. But the numbers say otherwise.

3. It can lead to burn out.

Not many kids are going to be happy about getting up early every weekend to drive two hours to a tournament. Kids aren’t wired to focus on one thing and one thing only.

4. Kids miss out.

The best athletes often diversified as children. So give your child the opportunity to explore other sports and activities without locking him into just one.

5. Parents get too invested.

Most children are not going to get sports scholarships to college or play professionally, but many parents have this as a goal when their children play sports. Remember that a parent’s job is to encourage and cheer on their children, not to manage their activities as if they were a sports agent.

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In The Comments

Do you let your children play year-round sports?


  • pchefred

    Ya know I have this inner debate all the time! My son plays year round baseball with a team, but I do make it a point to give him days of rest…..which is really hard because on those days of rest, he’s outside throwing a ball or wanting to hit 🙂 I have told him over and over if he ever wants to quit, go ahead….if he ever wants to try a different sport, that’s fine too….he doesn’t want too! I told my husband that we have to be prepared for him to one day say he doesn’t want to and be okay with that. We pray about it and we pray with him about it as well. I told him you may never make it to the big leagues, but it’s great excercise and maybe one day you’ll get a scholarship 🙂

  • Melanie @ Carmel Moments

    I totally agree with this. Too much pressure. I also believe the more children are away from home the less they learn how to play and create their own fun.

  • Renee

    Living in Texas it seems as though sport are at the top of most moms list. Kids are in so many camps and moms are driving from here to there and they just worn down. I am a traditional mom who believes kids need to use their imagination and get bored sometimes. We turn off TV, turn off noise and try to swim a lot in the summer. I want to see my kids face and here their voices unlike how I was raised. I pray this will help them to be leaders in the future and I remind them to serve God along the way. I may not be the coolest mom, but I know that this is a chance for me to sow Gods word into them while its quiet:)

  • Amanda

    My parents allowed me to play year-round sports from elementary to high school and I wouldn’t change a thing. I loved it. I learned more on the field and court than I ever have in a classroom. My body is not suffering as a result of year round sports, nor are my relationships with friends and family. Being in organized sports year-round and being able to specialize and be laser focused in high school was tremendously beneficial for me. My experience is certainly different from others’, but my college teammates would agree that year-round sports were nothing but beneficial. We are disciplined, successful adults and sports played a huge role in that for each of us.

  • I Ford

    Would you guys say this is the same for martial arts? I was thinking of enrolling my girls (ages 12 and 4) in jiu jitsu which is not really a seasonal thing. Just wondering what everyone’s thoughts are on this.

  • Ebony Gilbert

    I am not sure that I agree with this one. My daughter does dance year round, and this summer we made her take a small break for a month so she could take swim lessons. She enjoyed the swim lessons, but really missed dancing and her friends and couldn’t wait to get back. I think having her one activity makes it much easier to juggle for our family because our schedules aren’t constantly switching and its amazing how much stronger the relationships of the girls and parents grow over the course of the year. The nature of dance is a little different in that what you do in the fall is preparing you for competitions in the spring. I guess it would depend on the age of the kid some, because it can be somewhat tough to go from one sport to another trying to learn and improve while still keeping up with whatever is going on at school and church.

  • Sarah Velasco

    My daughter dances year around at her dance studio. Would this be considered the same sort of thing?

  • Aly

    I don’t agree! My 10 year old daughter plays soccer. Club soccer in the fall. Indoor during the So Cal winter season. State Cup prep after that into the spring . Tournaments in the summer and the fall season starts again. She loves it. Takes days off, of course, but learns a lot with her team, as a goalie, and gets the excercise kids needs. She is having fun and the goal for her is to learn the game and have fun. No pressure to win.
    Kids need to stay busy so they don’t get into more trouble. Sports is the best way to try to keep them out of trouble. And yes, year round.

  • JB

    I can appreciate that there are physical risks to doing “repetitive motion” and I remember many runners in h.s. with stress fractures/etc. With that said, I was lucky enough to be in AAU summer swimming and swimming in the fall; back then year-round wasn’t available. I’m biased because I think swimming is a more diverse activity than some sports, so I don’t think over-use is as likely? Still, I agree that some children’s lives are far too scheduled and I will always strive to keep balance. That may mean having the strength to say ‘no’ to make sure my daughter meets MY definition of well-rounded.

  • Ash Lee

    as a kid, I did swimming year round and had no issues. nothing bad physically. the result though? being pretty darn good at swimming, won medals plenty of times. I do think kids should not use weights. but regular sports (not football), are typically just fine to do year round for kids. to be really good at a sport, you do need to practice a lot. this is probably the most ignorant article I ever read. did the author even do any real sports? I bet not. talk to someone who was really an athlete.

  • Stephanie

    I also disagree. I did swimming when I was younger (8-18 years old) and I have amazing memories and built great friendships. Aside from being good at it, I learned a lot about hardwork and effort and seeing the rewards. I also learned about how diverse people were. I had swim friends and band friends and neighborhood friends. I was actiive and healthy and I learned what my body needs to be strong and be able to practice and compete. When I was young my parents had me go 3-4 days a week, then as things progressed I went 6 days a week. Competitions were on the weekends. We traveled sometimes and swam in the cold. I was taught discipline and structure. My parents listened to me though and we took vacations all the time. I try to do the same with my kids. I have 1 in gymnastics and 1 in taekwondo. They love it and want to practice and compete. These are both year round. We take breaks and we don’t pressure them. They don’t struggle, in fact the excel in school because they don’t have time to slack off. I think this article would be better written if it was about reminding parents how to raise a child in year round sport. Same 5 things mentions but not as pitfalls for being in it, rather as what not to do. Don’t have such high expectations on yours kids that they feel like failures if they don’t accomplish something. Listen to your children. If they are whining about going to practice, back off a bit, take a break. Try to figure out if they still enjoy it. Make the time away from home enjoyable if you can. When we have to travel for a competition we try to stay an extra day to see the city or relax. It is important for kids to know there are opportunities for going to college based on their sport but set realistic expectations and if they don’t, they don’t. No big deal. I have seen parents push their kids too hard or try to relive their sport through their children. That is not healthy but saying year round sports in general is wrong. I absolutely disagree.

  • Madeleine McJones

    no sailing year round is a blast – some the above happened but there where other benefits like world travel and friends all over, and we got over any of the small things and we still all love it. Parents where already into it.