Little League is supposed to be about the enjoyment, camaraderie, and celebration of children gathering together and playing a game with their friends. Sadly, all too often it is about adults competing against other adults through their children. If we want to keep growing this beautiful game, we all need to play our part in fixing this. How? Here are the 10 biggest problems in youth baseball and softball, and how we can fix them.
Problem 1: Specializing to get a head start
We are in such a rush to do more, more, more at younger and younger ages, and as a result, our children are getting injured at an unprecedented rate. Children who specialize in baseball and softball before the age of 12 have a 70-90% higher injury rate than multi-sport children. They have twice the rate of overuse injuries. And they are more likely to burn out and drop out than their peers.
Solution 1: Be a Generalist
If you want to have the best 10-year-old baseball and softball players, then specialization is the path. But if you want to have the best chance of those children still playing in high school and beyond, then do not have them specialize. They need a multi-sport, multi-movement childhood in order to develop as an athlete first, and a baseball or softball player second. The best athletes will eventually catch up and surpass those without athletic ability and possessing only baseball or softball skills.