I Broke One Of The Most Important Rules Of Youth Sports, And Here’s Why…
I Chose Volleyball Over School
Yep. Judge away. I took my kid out of school an hour early…for a volleyball training.
How can I possibly talk about balance, and support vs. pressure when I commit one of the most obvious youth sports offenses, choosing sports over school?
Well, here’s why.
Kids’ schedules are out of control. Not just with sports but with academics and any other activities kids engage in today.
I am all about balance!
I am OK if my kids don’t make straight A’s. I am OK if my kid is on JV. I am OK if my kid wants to play in college. I am OK if my kid decides to pursue acting. And I am also OK if my kid quits. I am OK so long as they are in forward motion, seeking something they are interested in, working at it, learning about themselves, and most importantly, maintaining a balance.
What I’m not OK with; the current status quo of burning out our kids and not accepting anything short of perfection or excellence. I know too many kids who peak in sports and school by age 15 and drag themselves across the finish line only to get there and declare they are done. Done with sports and, sometimes, done with school. They are exhausted. They have been on the race to nowhere and want off the hamster wheel.
I want balance and sanity. So we make small and large concessions so they can see friends, clean their rooms, and have downtime. This month, my daughter has really been wanting to work on her hitting. This was the only day and time that worked for us and the trainer. So we left school an hour early.
I follow her lead on what makes her happy and what fills her cup up. Mostly so that she can have a balance and a life outside of sports and school. She tries to see friends and relax on her few weekends that are free because many are filled with tournaments.
She’s doing fine in school, except for math. So if she were missing math, it wouldn’t happen. But she’s got good grades and takes care of her missed assignments. And so this was our give and take this month. Sometimes it’s missing a practice. Sometimes it’s missing a party. And this month, it was missing her last period on a Wednesday.
Do I sound like I’m trying to justify? I don’t know. Maybe.
But what I do know is the system is broken for these kids. So sometimes, we have to take things into our own hands and decide what’s important to them, what makes sense, and what we need to do to keep them balanced, sane, and happy.
I recently wrote an article about the “three questions all sports parents should ask themselves.” I recommend sports parents do this exercise around any and all sports decisions. And I strongly believe in this method, so let’s go through it now about leaving school an hour early for training.
- Is it age appropriate? Yes. She’s 15. She was a multi-sport athlete but has chosen volleyball only for the last two years. At 15, she plays at a high level and wants to play in college eventually. Private training is entirely in the realm of age-appropriate.
- Is it her decision? Yes. She LOVES volleyball and has big goals and dreams. She also wanted to improve in certain areas and asked for the training.
- Does it make sense with your family values? Yes. Balance is at the top of our list in our value system. We don’t believe in creating a pressure-packed school situation where they take all APs, are only satisfied with straight A’s, and can’t afford to miss a class. We want them to challenge themselves and follow their passions. Missing an occasional class may not be ideal, but it aligns with our values.
The bottom line is that every kid, every situation, and every family is different, so you must do what makes sense for your child. For mine, this made sense.
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