Why a Multi-Sport Focus?
Honing your skills in a specialty sport has some obvious advantages, but there are so many proven benefits for youth who participate in multiple sports. In fact, multi-sport athletes display improved health and wellness including decreased injury rates, improved athletic performance, improved leadership skills and teamwork, better attendance in school and better academic performance.
Benefits of Being A Multi-Sport Athlete
Playing the same sport year-round can be boring for youth athletes. Kids break away from their normal routine and try something new. There is an extra level of eagerness and enthusiasm associated with playing a new sport.
Overuse Injury Prevention
Using the same muscles repeatedly for a long time can lead to serious injury. By playing different sports, athletes stress different muscles throughout the training. Additionally, playing multiple sports improves the overall strength and conditioning of athletes.
Time to Decide Which Sport You Really Love
It's important to try new things as a kid and having options will allow the kid to decide what he/she really loves. Exposure to other sports is more important than specialization!
Become a More Dynamic Team Player
Athletes learn how to be a team player in different situations. It can help reduce social anxiety. Athletes learn to deal with adversity. You can be the star on one team but sit on the bench in another.
Participating in multiple sports can provide cross-training that can improve certain physical skills as well as mental toughness!
What is Early Sport Specialization?
Participation in intensive training and/or competition in organized sport greater than 8 months per year.
Participation in one sport to the exclusion of participation in other sports.
Limited free play.
Involves pre-adolescent children.
Why is Early Specialization Detrimental to Young Athlete Development?
Early sports specialization, or early single-sport specialization, is believed to be potentially damaging to the long-term physical and mental health of athletes and has not been validated as a requirement for competitive success in sport. Early youth sport specialization has been associated with:
Increased rates of overuse injury
The decreased motivation for participation
Recommendations for Avoiding Athlete Burnout
Avoid over-scheduling and excessive time commitments.
Consider using a valid and reliable tool to monitor burnout.
Emphasize skill development and fun.
Emphasize life-long physical activity.