Sports activities columnist Fred Bowen affords parting phrases of recommendation


My first KidsPost column appeared April 14, 2000. Legendary quarterback Tom Brady was drafted by the New England Patriots on April 16, 2000.

Which means I’ve been writing my weekly children’ sports activities column longer than Brady has been a part of the Nationwide Soccer League.

It additionally means I’ve been fascinated with children and sports activities for nearly 23 years. Longer actually. I had written 9 of my 27 children’ sports activities books earlier than I began the column and coached greater than 30 children’ sports activities groups.

So I believed for my final column (KidsPost will finish after tomorrow), I might write about what I’ve realized about children’ sports activities.

● Children shouldn’t play one sport year-round earlier than highschool. Younger athletes ought to play a wide range of sports activities in order that they have enjoyable and keep away from burnout and overuse accidents.

This isn’t simply me speaking. The American Academy of Pediatrics — a well-respected group of youngsters’ docs — advise in opposition to sports activities specialization. Dad and mom and coaches ought to take heed to them.

● Children don’t must journey to faraway tournaments to have enjoyable. When you don’t consider me, contemplate what children have mentioned.

A study by George Washington University recognized 81 issues (known as enjoyable determinants) that made sports activities enjoyable. They requested younger athletes to fee how essential every factor was to their enjoyment of enjoying organized sports activities. The gamers rated “enjoying in tournaments” and “touring to new locations to play” as solely the 58th and 71st most-important enjoyable determinants.

● Children and their mother and father needs to be extra sensible concerning the probabilities of getting a university athletic scholarship. My son is the top baseball coach on the College of Maryland Baltimore County. Dad and mom typically ask him, “How good do you must be to play Division I faculty baseball?”

Liam explains that prime faculties often have about 16 gamers on their baseball workforce. Solely 3 p.c of highschool baseball gamers go on to play in faculty. Fewer play on the highest (Division I) degree. “So,” Liam tells the mother and father, “your son needs to be the very best participant in virtually each recreation he performs.”

It’s the identical with most sports activities. I don’t imply to discourage anybody, however it’s best to get pleasure from your groups and video games now and never give attention to enjoying in faculty or the professionals.

● Be grateful. Children are fortunate to play sports activities and have enjoyable. So make sure to thank your coaches, referees and all of the mother and father who deliver snacks.

In line with that piece of recommendation, I need to thank the oldsters at The Washington Publish for letting me write for KidsPost. I hope we helped some children turn out to be lifelong readers.

Lastly, I need to thank all my editors and particularly my present editor, Christina Barron. They had been all first-class professionals.

My final piece of recommendation to all my younger readers? Maintain studying and play ball!

Bowen is the creator of 27 sports activities books for youths ages 7 to 12. His subsequent e-book — “Off the Bench” can be revealed in March. Discover out extra at

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