Basketball, baseball, flag football, track, swimming and sometimes soccer. This season of life for me is comprised of multiple kids playing multiple sports. I grew up playing and absolutely loving sports, and now have three kids that are chips off the old block. The only difference is that I only played basketball, baseball, and football as a youth athlete. My kids play all of the above. One of them wants to add karate and all three of them want to swim. This situation is far from unique to me, but I have learned a few things about creating balance within it that are worth sharing.
Wondering how we will manage and afford all of these activities forced me to sit down and think things through. I’ve taken into account the differences in sheer opportunity our kids have today, and how my parents managed when I was their age. In addition, I’ve spoken to other parents and observed the good and bad of how they balance it all. During this process I’ve pulled out a few nuggets that we’ll use to help us balance multiple kids playing multiple sports, and can do the same for you.
5 tips to balance multiple kids playing multiple sports
1. Determine the “why” your kids playing sports
Your kids’ “why” will determine your level of involvement and how you will approach it all. The “why” shouldn’t have anything do to with you as the parent. It is only about your kids and their interests. If that is not the case, you may need to reevaluate it all.
2. Be open minded.
Your kid may have no athletic ability, or may turn out to be the next Michael Phelps. You have to be able to accept either. If sports end up not being their thing, don’t force it. If they show potential to be great, then you may have to hire a private coach, and sacrifice your time help them pursue their dreams.
3. Determine how much time can be devoted.
This may happen before or after point #2, but it needs to be set. If you can devote 10 hours per week, then devote your 10. Just make sure you don’t steal time from other areas of their development and your relationships. For instance, don’t neglect your marriage, or your work responsibilities to uplift the five athletic pursuits of your child. You can only do so much.
4. Count the cost.
Being involved in sports can cost a lot. Your budget may dictate what you can and cannot do. Do your best to consider all the costs that may be involved. Not just league or team fees, but equipment, travel, and training. I learned this the hard way. Early on, I only asked “what’s the registration fee?” Then I learned to ask about travel, membership fees for certain tournaments, and of course shoes and gear which our kids always grow out of quickly. If you are serious, you may want to estimate how much it will all cost for a year, divide that number by 12, and add it to your monthly budget. Beware of “sticker shock” the first time you do that.
5. Make sure you are on the same page.
I am all into sports, but my wife isn’t so much. To her, some of this stuff is over the top and she just doesn’t see it like I do. To me, it’s just what you do. It has presented some challenges in our relationship. Now that we know how to handle the situation better, we’ve both moved made more decisions and sacrifices to create a balance.
These five tips are what I’ve come up with to help me balance multiple kids playing multiple sports. There are surely many more great suggestions out there.
Please share your ideas and insight in the comment section below. What has worked for you in balancing multiple kids playing multiple sports?
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