You've got questions ... Dr. Stankovich has answers

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

the sports doc | dr. chris stankovich

We're lucky to have Dr. Chris Stankovich as a Columbus Parent Magazine contributing writer. As an expert in the field of sports psychology and a youth sports activist, he has a wealth of information at the ready for puzzled parents everywhere. This month, Dr. Stankovich answers often-asked questions from readers. Feel free to submit your own questions to

Dear Dr. Stankovich:

We have recently been encouraged by some parents and coaches to consider home schooling our child in an attempt to maximize her practice time. We hope for a future college scholarship or Olympic opportunity. Is this a good idea?

-- L.L., Dublin

Dear L.L.:

The question of whether or not to home school your child is an important one that cannot be answered in just a few sentences.

My personal view is that home schooling should be considered for academic or philosophical reasons, not athletic hope. While it's true that a very small percentage of kids may benefit from the extra time to train, most will not--and they may experience other personal issues from not being around their friends and practicing more than they like.

Keep in mind that only a very select number of kids will ever earn a full-ride college scholarship or an Olympic opportunity, regardless of what parents do to help. If home schooling makes sense for reasons beyond athletic aspirations, then by all means consider it; but if your decision is based exclusively on potential athletic success, I encourage you to think about this decision further.

Dear Dr. Stankovich:

My husband and I are considering having our son play two leagues at the same time--is this too much?

-- D.M., Worthington

Dear D.M.:

There is no right or wrong answer to your question, but I remind you that kids (especially under age 12) play sports almost exclusively to have fun. If competing in two leagues simultaneously limits your child's ability to have fun--and adds stress, frustration and fatigue--then I certainly encourage you to think through your decision. For most kids, playing in one league (and doing it well) is plenty.

Dear Dr. Stankovich:

Recently we have been concerned about the level of officiating in our child's league. Can you discuss what we can do to help improve the quality of the officials?

-- R.W., Hilliard

Dear R.W.:

Youth league officials are definitely going to mess up calls from time to time, but so do professional officials. Keep in mind most youth sport officials don't have a lot of training (and don't make a lot of money either). Officials do the best they can, but unfortunately don't always make the best calls.

There are a few things that you should expect from youth league officials:

1. They should make every effort to make the right call.

2. They should treat all athletes, parents and coaches with respect.

3. They will make bad calls occasionally, but be sure they are not making wrong calls (because they don't know the rules themselves).

Try to be patient and when the officials err on a call, try to teach your child how to deal with difficult, unfair situations--not only in sports, but in life.

More resources

Dr. Chris Stankovich offers individual athletic counseling and team/league seminars. Call (614) 561-4482, or visit for more details.