Parents who want their kids to be active sign them up for sports, but early specialization and pressure to perform often take young athletes out of the game for life.
Are athletes made by playing or training?
At the 2014 NHL Scouting Combine, Sam Bennett couldn’t do a pull-up. The 17-year-old faced criticism from various media outlets, but none were able to say why he should be able to do a pull-up. Without an objectively measurable scale of “fitness”—or even a definition—writers knew something was wrong with a potential No. 1 draft pick who couldn’t do a single pull-up, but they couldn’t say what, exactly.
“For every kid like this, there’s a waiting line of kids who don’t make it and still can’t do a pull-up,” said Jeff Martin, co-founder of CrossFit Kids.
Seventy percent of kids drop out of their primary sport before they’re 13. Most of those say their sport should be more fun. Decades of research and practice paint a very clear picture: Early specialization in one sport is a bad idea.
So why are kids playing hockey in the summer instead of doing pull-ups?