When you believe you studied of Marie-Philip Poulin, you likely think about her dominance at the ice. She’s been a member of Canada’s countrywide ladies hockey group for over a decade and performed a starring role in a couple of Olympic gold-medal victories.
But in a new public-carrier marketing campaign titled “Change It Up,” Poulin is seen swinging a baseball bat, no longer protecting a hockey stick. Three other elite Canadian athletes also are proven doing sports activities apart from the only for which they’re pleasant known.
The message is that children need to play more than one sport, rather than focus on one, as a part of their social and physical improvement. And the marketing campaign has the aid of large national game groups and Hockey Canada, Baseball Canada, the Canadian Soccer Association, and the Canadian Olympic Committee.
It’s the identical message Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney brought in a recent video that became widely disseminated in minor hockey circles.
“I would really like to stress the reality that multi-recreation participation is vital to the development of an infant. It’s not approximately hockey for 365 days of the 12 months. We recognize that” Renney implores dad and mom.
“What I would love to suggest is which you do something different, something that maybe helps extend your thoughts, facilitates you use your bodily property in a totally unique manner, maybe gets you outdoor of your consolation quarter a bit,” Renney provides. “We love hockey, we discover with it, but at the stop of the day, we need to do different things. We need to construct an entire man or woman, a diverse city that’s now not simply married to hockey.”
Renney provides that all of the pleasant gamers he coached in the NHL participated in different sports activities growing up.
It all sounds tremendous. And it’s backed up by way of research that recommends kids advantage — physically, mentally and emotionally — from playing more than one sports activities instead of simply one.
Why, then, is there this sort of disconnect between a seemingly obvious prescription and what is, in reality, occurring at the floor?
“The first element human beings say is that is splendid. And then the second element they say is that it is not possible in truth. That’s been the reception. We predicted this,” says Richard Monette, the pinnacle of Active for Life, the non-profit organization riding the Change it Up marketing campaign.
Monette says more than a few elements, inclusive of ambitious coaches and parents and an intense attention on triumphing, often create eventualities where kids have no desire but to focus on handiest one sport or pastime.
National sports organizations may aspire to have athletes arrive on the elite level after sampling many sports. At the equal time, an own family can be given an ultimatum from an instruct who threatens to get rid of a spot at the crew if the needs of overall dedication aren’t met.
If it is not an instruct, the stress can come from a fellow determine who apparently constantly has his baby in some other camp, talent session or personal lesson — all in the name of getting higher at an unmarried sport.
Monette says actual exchange begins with well-instructing mother and father and giving human beings the gear to call for what many experts consider is exceptional for kid’s athletic development.
“Most discern make their choices based totally on sound bites,” Monette says. “They may listen that Tiger Woods’s dad trained him whilst he younger, and at eight years antique Tiger most effective performed golfing and that is how they make selections, no longer after doing tremendous studies. What we’re seeking to do is promote scientifically sound bites.”
Give ’em a damage
Paul Carson, who is Hockey Canada’s VP of hockey development, says there’s an essential false impression about how so-called elite athletes are advanced. Many parents since it’s approximately honing a selected set of talents by way of continuously working towards. But intense specialization contains its personal dangers.
“I know the effect is that [multi-sport participation] places you in the back of, however, the bottom line is youngsters that are uncovered to twelve-month hockey absolutely fall off. They simply disappear from the sport,” Carson says. “There is a greater danger of damage, a greater danger of burnout, and I worry about the kids who, after all the time and strength and cost to the dad and mom, nonetheless do not degree up. We want physical and mental breaks.”
Carson says the practice of coaches labeling athletes as “elite” and then pushing them to cognizance on one recreation, like hockey, at a young age is “dangerous.”
“Multi-game athletes have a far higher possibility of success because it’s approximately developing athleticism,” Carson says. “Single-sport [participation] is set growing abilities for that game.”
Carson and Monette acknowledge there may be a time for specialization and that a few sports activities — like gymnastics and parent skating — require an earlier dedication because the physical height of their athletes comes at a more youthful age.
Hockey Canada’s push to get younger kids playing pass-ice hockey is an example of the way the corporation can affect alternate when it places its weight on the back of a purpose. (Submitted via Hockey Canada)
“It doesn’t suggest they abandon each other recreation, however, they might move from five or six one of a kind sports to two or 3 at [age] 13,” Monette says. “[At age] 15 or 16 you can specialize in hockey due to the fact in case you want to be a top-level hockey player you ought to.”
Monette says his group is pushing dad and mom and coaches to change based totally on the idea that it’s the right component to do. He says real behavioral alternate will take stronger leadership from companies like Hockey Canada.
“The leagues have more strength than the countrywide recreation corporations,” he says. “If a league wants to agenda forty video games, they schedule forty games. Nobody from Hockey Canada is pronouncing you cannot try this.”
Monette points to go-ice hockey, which is obligatory throughout the country this season for more youthful age organizations. Against full-size resistance from many hockey traditionalists, Hockey Canada gave nearby companies no choice — pass-ice hockey wasn’t an alternative anymore, it was a rule.
“I suppose proper now the essential piece [around multi-sport participation] is cognizance and education. Ultimately we can come out with a seasonal shape we assume makes the maximum feel,” Carson says.
“I’m no longer positive we get to an area where we’re mandating the quantity of ice time, however if you do not install sure controls, then team A wants to trump crew B, who has already trumped team C. So you will need to introduce it in a manner that people buy into it, apprehend it and experience it is suitable for his or her baby’s development.”