A friend of mine recently complained with a sense of confusion and misunderstanding that his two sons no longer want to play baseball in the local league.
The youngest has lost interest in the sport completely while the other is on the fence about maybe still playing on the travel team he’s been part of for several spring and summer seasons.
This is a family, like many, which has invested heavily in terms of time and money to make sure their kids get the most out of the youth sports experience. Hold on! Before you immediately react that “they’re burned out from baseball,” both boys have played soccer and basketball as well.
I asked the father what his kids were going to do this spring. His reply: “Well … they’re both only playing flag football.”
The league they are joining is in its second year, and to accommodate kids playing other sports it only meets on Sunday afternoons for practice followed immediately by a game. Both boys will be at the same complex for the same two hours each week. Compared to the previous spring seasons for this family, which often included multiple games on the same day and weekend trips out of state, they’ll feel like they are on vacation with only one day of youth sports each week.
I think it’s great. It’s great for the kids to have a break from what can be the rigors of youth sports but still be involved in one. It’s great for the parents to be able to plan other non-sports-related family activities, or maybe none at all and just enjoy sitting down to dinner as a family more than once a week.
If your kids aren’t playing a sport for the first time this spring and have never played flag football, maybe you can suggest it. It will be great to keep the kids active without overdoing it, and who knows, it just might become their regular spring sport.
Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years with perspectives as a parent, coach and board member. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.
USA Football's new model for youth football is designed to make the game safer by reducing contact and by teaching the game based on an athlete's age, the skill they are learning and game type.