Lisa Goodman, DC, CCSP, CACCP, CrossFit Kids Coach
After doing a few rotations at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, I was shocked to learn that many Olympians still focus on sport-specific training. Many, from a young age have trained only for their sport. An argument could be made that this is what produced their success as an olympian. However, as a sports chiropractor with 12 years of experience working on athletes of all levels, one common denominator seems to be that athletes who only specialize in one sport, have a higher risk of injury. A much higher risk of injury. Not only that, but athletes who don’t specialize until high school or college have a very high success rate and a lower rate of injury. NFL Defensive End, JJ Watt recently tweeted “If someone encourages your child to specialize in a single sport, that person generally does not have your child's best interests in mind.” I’m not sure that is exactly true, but the evidence is clear that kids who play many sports, learn many skills and team building will likely become better athletes and have well rounded fitness for life.
What is really the purpose of our kids playing sports? To get a college scholarship or be professional athletes? Unlikely. So if we rewind, and think about our kids as small humans trying to live their best lives, it really boils down to fitness and community. Fitness is defined as “being physically fit and healthy”. Community is defined as “a feeling of fellowship with others”. Some of the best resources I have seen encouraging fitness, community and helping kids get better at sports include the following….
Recreational Sports Programs. There are many opportunities to spend thousands of dollars on select sports leagues in soccer, volleyball, hockey, lacrosse, etc. in Denver. But if your child is not feeling the drive, love or time consuming passion of a select league, you can spend considerably less money and time on a recreational league offered by Denver Parks and Rec, Skyline, YMCA, etc. Your child will gain valuable skills, teamwork and have fun while leaving time to play more than one sport.
It starts at school. I recently had the opportunity to learn about Grant Beacon Middle School’s after school enrichment program offering yoga, basketball, floor hockey, football, soccer and more sports as part or their school program. GALS and the Boys School of Denver integrate movement and sports into their daily program as well, one of their tenants “Sports participation also boosts self-esteem and civic engagement. Movement prepares our students to live long, fulfilled lives.” These schools demonstrate an evolution of the traditional idea of sports and recess in school.
Fitness programs for kids. Fitness for kids is not just about sports. Well rounded fitness is building a strong foundation for our kids in all areas of life. I strongly encourage building self confidence, physical ability and establishing healthy movement as early as possible through a reputable program. You’ll find me coaching a CrossFit Kids program at CrossFit Wash Park on Sunday Mornings. Just opened in Virginia Village is Dryland Sports Co. focusing on fitness of young athletes, and Apex athletics in Denver specializes in Parkour which is essentially the fitness of movement. Just to name a few. In your child’s ‘off’ season, sprinkle in a few weeks of conditioning to add variety, community and fun to fitness.
Family Fitness. More and more kids and parents are participating in fitness together. Fun runs and family 5ks at wash park are a great way to set a great example for your kids. Another great way to make fitness a family affair is available at North America’s largest indoor climbing gym, Earth Trex.
Lisa Goodman, DC, CCSP, CACCP is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP) and Certified Prenatal and Pediatric Chiropractor (CACCP). She is a CrossFit L1 and CrossFit Kids Certified Trainer. Dr. Goodman founded Washington Park Chiropractic in 2006 in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Goodman incorporates sports chiropractic techniques with prenatal and pediatric patients, she teaches mobility and taping classes locally, and is a contributor to POPSUGAR, Urban Life Wash Park and DC Aligned. She is a committee member on the boards of the ACA Pediatrics Council and the ACA Sports Council. Areas of special interest include prenatal care, ankle and wrist injuries, instrument assisted soft tissue techniques, strength training, and pediatric fitness. Stay connected with Dr. Goodman on Instagram @washparkchiro or @lisakgoodman