Yes I have blogged on this topic before, but it continues to come up every year.
I was talking with my sister last night about my niece who is in the sixth grade. She lives in a small town, is fast, fiesty, plays basketball with the boys, among whichever sport is in season. She is going to be good (not that I am biased), so we started talking about resources that are out there to develop her besides summer camps with Auntie.
Let me begin with some mistakes parents make:
1) Choose just one sport to focus on
2) Require her to train
3) Move to a bigger school
The best practices are
1) first ask your daughter what she wants. My mom and dad never asked me to go out in my driveway and shoot all night. That was what I was driven to do.
2) Ask if she wants some resources? If she wants to be trained or join a summer team then go for it. Some athletes want to go to the next level but they don't want to put the work into it. You'll waste your money if it's not what she wants.
3) Does my daughter enjoy playing the other sports or getting involved in other activities? I really believe multi sport athletes make for great basketball players at the next level because they have so much room for growth. They don't have as much concern for chronic injuries & may not get burned out as early. My senior year in high school I played three sports, was in a school play, and played on a summer team. That load prepared me well for college life.
4) Whether it's a bigger or smaller school may not matter. Sometimes players get to play on the varsity team earlier at the smaller school than they would at the bigger. Before I learned the value of nutrition when I was a freshman in high school I used to sit on the end of the bench during the J.V. game eating a hot dog before playing in the varsity game.
As parents our jobs are to offer, not force resources for our children to be successful. Finding what they are passionate about is the first step. My niece LOVES basketball and she is good at it. Step number two is to make sure she is a BOBCAT and all other college coaches-hands off!