Some might argue that being a multi-sport youth athlete might be more than some kids can handle, but if your child can’t decide between football, basketball and baseball there’s no need for them to pick a favorite sport just yet! Provided they aren’t trying to do two sports in the same season (now that can be too much for anyone to handle!), there are a lot of benefits to being a multi-sport athlete.
1. Less chance of overuse injuries.
Here’s a crazy statistic– Overuse injury is responsible for nearly half of all sports injuries to middle-and high-school students! Think how many pitches a baseball pitcher may throw in a year, how many serves a tennis player does. They use the same muscles the same way each time and that puts a lot of wear and tear on them throughout the season. Multi-sport athletes get to give their different muscles groups a break each season while simultaneously improving their overall strength and condition.
2. Keeps things interesting.
Playing the same sport all year round can sometimes get a little boring for youth athletes, especially really young kinds that aren’t known for having great attention spans. Playing different sports breaks up the normal routine and gives youth athletes the chance to try something new and different every few months so they stay eager and excited to come to practice. Participating in multiple sports can help prevent sports burnout.
3. Playing multiple sports gives kids time to decide what they really love to do.
Even if your youth athlete is the star of their community soccer team, maybe their real sport love is cross country, or swimming, or golf—but how is an 8 year old really to know? One of the biggest arguments against specialization at an early age is that it limits kids’ chances of exposure to other sports and other skills. As a multi-sport athlete, kids get to try a little bit of everything and find the sport that they truly love to play.
4. Learn how to work on different teams in different situations.
Every sports has its own rules, skills, coaching styles, team dynamic, expectations and more. As a multi-sport athlete, a youth athlete has to learn how they fit into the big picture for each of their sports. They might be the star forward on their basketball team but maybe they bat 8th on their baseball team. They might be best friends with everyone on their swim team but only know one or two people on the lacrosse field. Being a multi-sport athlete means the game is always changing and it helps teach kids how to adapt to different situations.
These are just a few benefits to being a multi-sports athlete. What do you think?Should kids be given the chance to try a new sport every season or focus on the one they excel at?