The PCA Blog - Minnesota

Hal Tearse Between the Lines: Changing Seasons

by Hal Tearse


As the winter sports season winds down, parents and their youngsters start looking forward to the spring and summer season of sports. For many, it is a change of sport and for some just a continuation in the same sport. The “experts” weigh in constantly about what decisions parents should make for their kids.

There are a couple factors every family should consider when they are trying to navigate the confusing and sometimes pressure-filled process, and a couple overriding themes appear throughout much of the NGO literature in all sports:

  • Playing more than one sport is good for youngsters. It helps them develop into well-rounded athletes as they get older.
  • Take some time off from one sport season before going full bore into another one.
  • Be sure to keep training for the primary sport (Though this may seem to contradict the above, there are ways that training for and playing one sport can translate to benefits in another sport.)

Adding to the confusion are myriad off-season programs that promise “Bigger, Better, and Stronger” results. These programs are time consuming, expensive and many are of limited value to the kids.  Each family with kids up to 18 years old should weight the cost-benefit of year-round participation in organized sports programs. Factors to consider include:

  • Is your son or daughter an athlete? The majority are not.
  • Did either parent play sports at a high level? Genetics matter.
  • Is your child’s dream actually your dream? If yours, step back.
  • Are you and your child counting on sports to pay for college? You should not. Less than 1% of kids have an opportunity to play college sports at any level. The scholarship money is rarely full ride.

A childhood spent in relentless pursuit of mostly unattainable outcomes also sacrifices so many other important aspects to growing up that will help them as adults. Academics are critical in a rapidly changing world, and are often neglected in favor of chasing the sports dream.

Learning to play lifetime sports and activities for fun also is important because 99% of kids who do play organized sports are done by age 16 and half of the remaining are done by age 18. The window of opportunity to learn and enjoy other activities is soon swallowed up the many new demands after high school. Playing sports has far more upside than downside but a good balance of activities throughout their young lives will provide for broader development and richer memories for kids.

Hal Tearse is a member of the PCA-Minnesota Advisory Board. Hal’s hockey playing career ended his sophomore year at the University of Minnesota. He has been a tireless advocate for coach and player development for over 20 years and more recently player safety in all sports. Hal is a Sr. Vice President and Branch Director in the Minnetonka office of RBC Wealth Management.

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