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- Physical Safety. Against the urgings of doctors as well as groups like PCA, youth athletes in some sports may be pushed too far too early, risking serious injuries with lifelong risks. In this case, the decision should be quick. Jacobson says, “Get out.”
- Emotional Safety. This is a trickier category, but a crucial one. If your child runs into conflicts with teammates or a coach, you should always seek first to resolve them, and give it more than one try. But if these steps fail and issues are serious, says Jacobson, it may be necessary to leave. Still, he says, “Don’t leave the sport—just that particular team.”
- Overcommitment. Kids can feel overwhelmed when they are balancing sports with homework, friends, and everything else on their plates. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Instead of dropping sports, PCA recommends taking things down a notch. Your child does not have to train for the Olympics to enjoy the benefits of physical activity; there are many less demanding but very rewarding levels of play. “The physical benefits, including being able to relax and to focus, pay off later on,” says Jacobson, and adds that research has shown that sports can help kids better handle school challenges.
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