Kids Sports News Network

The Game Plan

Six trips across the country per year,  eight to nine months of continuous gameplay, three to four tournaments a month, no free weekends, and weekday practices that add up to 15 hours a week. This sounds like the life of a Professional athlete, doesn’t it?

Well, it isn’t. Instead it is the schedule of a youth travel ball player.

It seems that almost every family on the competitive youth sports scene will come across these issues now or later; no free weekends, constant travel, late nights, and practice every other day. The problem of scheduling is constantly being pondered by parents involved in youth sports.

Is it worth giving up a scheduled vacation to have your son participate in an AAU tournament on the other side of the country? Will your daughter be appreciative of the constant practices she attends to be a part of her swim team? Will your oldest son harbor anger against you after you missed his game for his younger brothers?

Though these issues are prevalent among families involved in youth sports, there are ways to overcome the challenges of scheduling conflicts.

Intensity of the Sport

The first aspect to take into consideration is how serious you and your child are about the sport they are playing. In other words, how far does your child want to go playing this sport?

For example, is your child looking to test their limits and play against top notch competition? That may mean that your child will be involved in travel baseball or AAU basketball which takes up a considerable amount of time and is a serious commitment. If this is the case, you and your family need to realize the commitment to practice and weekend tournaments you have signed up for every week.

If your youth is looking more to make friends and partake in a lesser intensity after school activity, a recreational or instructional league may be more to their liking. These leagues still offer the same great instruction and sporting rules as the higher intensity travelball or AAU circuit leagues but they offer less intensity to your child, such as everyone getting at least two at bats in baseball.

Meals

Meals and homework are another big challenge for a family, especially a child, to maneuver around with youth sports.

There will be days and nights when your child will have games or practices scheduled right in the middle of dinner. There are several ways to work around this problem such as feeding your child an energy bar or high value nutritional snacks before their practice to curb hunger while providing them energy, feeding them a meal ample time before a practice or game if time persists, or even providing a meal that can be saved and reheated later once your child comes home from their activity.

Homework

Depending on your child’s practice and game schedule, homework will be a difficult task to complete some nights. There will be some late nights where your child needs to stay up and complete their homework but if it’s possible to do more homework on off days and have a lighter load on game or practice days, try to do that.

Carpooling

Carpooling is another big issue that may arise in youth sports due to working parents and conflicting practice and game times.

In the circumstance that there is a time when you are unable to drop off and pick up your child from practice, gather in advance with another team parent and see if they are willing to have your child carpool with them. This saves you the headache of knowing if your child is accounted for.

Scheduling Conflicts

If a family has multiple kids participating in youth sports in the same season, there is more likely than not going to be scheduling conflicts that involve the kids playing at the same exact time.

In this scenario, it would be in each parents’ best interests to take a look at each child’s schedule in advance (ie 2-3 months) and find any conflicts that will occur. If any scheduling conflicts are discovered, both parents should sit down with their kids and discuss which parent is going to which child’s game. This helps diffuse any hard feelings that may come over a child if the child is not aware of the plan beforehand.

Youth sports are an immense responsibility on not only a child but a whole family. With this said, it is still possible for children to succeed both on and off the field with proper scheduling and consideration beforehand from parents.

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