I love Mike Boyle. He is one of the most respected strength and conditioning coaches in the country (if not the world) who loves to speak his mind. I have previously shared with you some of his wisdom (see “Wisdom from the Great Mike Boyle“), which included one of my favorite pieces “Summer Training for Nine Year Olds?” Mike has trained top-level high-school, college and professional athletes. And yet he is still an advocate of letting kids be kids. Mike is at it again, with a new blog post titled “11 Year Old Athlete Overdoses on Sports Camps ~ A Parable.” In Mike’s post he shares with us an actual summer camp schedule for an 11 year-old that includes 10 continuous weeks of sports camps ~ some overnight, some day camp. Several weeks actually have a day camp scheduled from 9-3 followed by an evening sports program. The very last week of summer is scheduled “Cape Cod.” Mike states:
Child development experts tell us that a child between the age of 8 to 11 should take only 1 to 3 camps per summer. Our experts also tell us that this is a clear case of parents not reading the labels and thinking that if a little camp participation is good than 14 camps must be better.
Don’t forget to let your kids have fun. When I was a kid, I never, ever went to any kind of summer camp. I didn’t go to any kind of scheduled daily activities. I would get up, eat breakfast, get dressed and run over to one of my friends houses. It wasn’t a scheduled play date and my mother didnt’ drive me. I walked, maybe ran, or sometimes rode my bike there. I went home when I got hungry for lunch, then went back out to play. That’s all I did all damn summer. I loved it.
I do understand today’s world is different. I have sent my kids to summer camps. But one or two a summer. Don’t make sports your kids summer job. Make sure they have time to sleep in, ride their bikes, go fishing, go swimming and just have some fun. I’m with Mike Boyle on this one.