From the thrill of earning a Little League trophy, to winning a track race, to receiving team snacks and collecting team pictures, the memories and experiences that these young kids encounter are an essential aspect of their lives. For many children, the world of sports is an escape from hardships and an important tool for socialization. Specialization, or the restriction to a single sport, has experienced a rapid growth in popularity as many believe this will enhance a child’s skill level at an early age. While this may have a positive effect on an athlete in the short run, some potential risks include : social isolation, limitations in athletic development, and limitations in mental toughness. Here are Five Reasons why Kids Should be Multi-Sport Athletes:

1. Decreases the possibility of burnout.

Kids who specialize in a single sport from a young age often have higher expectations to excel in their sport.  If athletes struggle to meet these expectations, they may lose interest in the sport entirely. Motivation is the driving force behind any successful athletes, regardless of their natural physical abilities. As such, emotional burnout can reduce long-term success. 

2. Fewer injuries from overuse.

As an athlete’s body develops, playing one sport a year can overstress the body due to a lack of rest and recovery time. Studies indicate that young athletes who specialized in a single sport were 70 to 93 percent more likely to be injured compared to children who played multiple sports. Playing multiple sports can allow an athlete’s body to fully recover, while also improving their overall athleticism, speed, agility, and muscle development. 

3. Exposure to different roles in sports.

From being the sixth man on a basketball team to being a starting quarterback, different  roles can develop important tools such as flexibility, coachability, and teamsmanship. This allows kids to develop skills that transfer from one sport to another, becoming more competitive and better all-around athletes. 

4. Allows for more social interactions.

Sports provide many kids with the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, make new friends, and create everlasting experiences. Playing multiple sports allows kids to grow their social circle and learn from the different perspectives of other players. Adapting to different coaches, training styles, and teammates teach kids valuable lessons that facilitate their growth as a player and person. 

5. Keeps their options open. 

Specializing in a sport can result in limited athletic development. Without a variety of sport interests or experiences, a player’s athletic career is more susceptible to ending due to injuries, burnout, or bad sport experiences. With sports being a vehicle for building self-confidence, little successes in multiple sports can improve their confidence and increase their interest to continue playing. 

There are many benefits for young athletes who engage in multiple sports instead of specializing in one. Parents want the best for their children, and playing multiple sports can help in their overall athletic development and expose them to a variety of transferable skills. Let's strive to give our growing athletes the opportunity to enjoy the sports they play and create those unforgettable memories. Learn how Playbook Sports can help your multi-sport organization!

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