Is It OK for your child to quit midseason?

By Janis Meredith | Posted 10/27/2014

“Merediths don’t quit,” we preached to our kids. “You finish the season, and then if you don’t want to play next season, you don’t have to.”

But there is one thing I’ve learned after 27 years of parenting: There usually comes a time when the rules can and should be broken.

We were ready to break the no-quitting rule when our daughter faced a rough senior year of basketball. She was late coming in because her volleyball team did well in the playoffs, and she never could seem to get back into the good graces of the basketball coach – a coach who played her a lot as a junior.

When the season was a few weeks old, she was frustrated and wanted to quit basketball to focus on club volleyball, a sports she was hoping to play in college.

After much discussion, my husband and I gave her permission to quit the team so she could focus fully on volleyball, although we’re still not big on the whole midseason quitting thing. And in different circumstances, we would not have offered it to our daughter as an option.

So when should it be an OK for an athlete to quit a team midseason? Here’s my thoughts:

  • Senior year. Can’t blame a kid for not wanting to waste his time on a team he is not enjoying in his last year of high school. If he is not going to play in college, it’s OK to say goodbye to sports. Maybe move on and get a job.
  • Irreconcilable differences. When you or your child reaches a point where you cannot support what the coach stands for, it may be time to go. I’m not saying a personality difference or being disgruntled with playing time, but if the coach is standing for something intolerable, then it could be time to move on.
  • Injury. When a player is out for the season because of injury, and he doesn’t plan to return the next year, it’s OK to walk away. In my son’s senior year of high school football, an emergency appendectomy cut short his season. There was really no point in him hanging around practice because by the time he was cleared to play, the season was over.

So when is it not okay to quit?

When your athlete is mad about sitting the bench, can’t get along with teammates or doesn’t like the coach – these are all issues that an athlete should work through.

By the way, my daughter chose to stick out her senior year of basketball, and although it ended up falling short in some ways of her performance expectations, it did NOT fall short in teaching her character.

What do you think? Is it OK for a young athlete to quit midseason?

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach's wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks. She authored the Sports Parenting Survival Guide Series and has recently launched a podcasting series for sports parents. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.