If you’re a dedicated follower of the Winter Olympics, you’ve no doubt heard about Norwich Vermont–a tiny town nestled in the scenic mountains of New England.
Norwich has claimed at least one participant in nearly every Winter Olympic Games since 1984, a few of them even having won medals. For a town with a reported population of 3,000, that is quite a ratio.
While skill certainly plays an important role in Olympic success, it’s not the sole contributing factor. Many say that their unique approach to youth sports in this town is what sets its athletes apart.
For decades, organized youth sports in Norwich have focused much more on sportsmanship, participation, and the pure fun of it, over the cutting-edge competition and burn-out commonly associated with it today.
We see may young athletes at Texas Orthopedics, and we thought now–as winter sports start transitioning to spring activities–would be a good time to remember what youth sports is all about.
Taking a few tips from the Olympians who’ve come out of Norwich, here are some valuable reminders for the upcoming season:
1. Emphasize participation over prowess.
Participating in sports and adopting a healthy, active lifestyle is reason enough to celebrate your young star. Winning will come with hard work and determination, but they are already winning simply by choosing to play in the first place.
2. Treat all teammates, and opposing teams, as friends.
In a world of harsh realities, where bullying and put-downs are far too common among kids, kindness and camaraderie matter. There is no better place to put this into practice than together on a playing field.
3. Frame sports as fun first and foremost.
Youth sports should be fun. They are something your child chooses to do in their free time. To that end, let them choose what they’d like to play and what is most fun to them. When they are enjoying themselves and engaged, their natural talent will shine through. Or if lacking, having fun will motivate them to stick with it to try and master the proper skills.
Finally, avoid focusing on one sport too early on.
Encourage playing and discovering different sports each season. Ongoing participation in the same sport when children are young, and bones and muscles are still developing, can be dangerous. Bone growth can be stunted, or serious injury could occur such as broken bones or fractures, muscle strains and sprains, or tendonitis and overuse injuries.
If you have concern about your child’s youth sports participation, or questions about overuse injuries, please contact us for an appointment.
(Courtesy of The New York Times)