Some children are obsessed with one sport. Their interests revolve around excelling in one in particular – football, soccer, hockey, baseball. They adorn their walls with posters of their sports heroes, put all their effort into playing the sport and plan to do so for the rest of their lives.
Other children, however, are interested in multiple sports. How many girls have you met who play soccer, softball and have a background in gymnastics, or boys who play football and baseball in the off season?
While in Academics we naturally encourage well rounded children, in sports, the question is, is this a good thing?
Yes. There are quite a few reasons why you should be pushing players to have a variety of sports experiences under their belt. We’ve highlighted some of the most important ones below.
Exposure to Multiple Sports
The most necessary premise for parents should be that any child on a field or a court actually wants to be there. There should be no forcing, prodding or begging involved – it makes players resentful and keeps them from truly shining on the field. Sports should be first and foremost an enjoyable activity. A child who is exposed to several sports has a chance to find something they excel at, and enjoy sports for a long time.
The AMS Says So
Want real proof that children should play more than one sport? Hear it from the professionals themselves.
According to both the American Medical Society and American Academy of Pediatrics, children shouldn’t play a specialized sport until they reach at least age 10. When a child fully commits to one sport prior to this age, they increase their risk of repeated injury, stunting growth and the healing process.
While it is entirely possible to get a multitude of injuries playing any sport, working the same muscles day after day, practice after practice, leads to repeatedly risking similar injuries. This greatly impedes the healing process. Injuries can get exponentially worse by repetition, requiring more extensive repairing and more healing time.
When a child plays only one sport and they do this competitively, the focus narrows down to excelling just in this field. Having exposure to multiple sports means adapting to different strategies, rules of play and sportsmanship; not just how to play one sport and one sport only well. When the child grows older, this flexibility pays off in developing an adaptable student and worker and well-rounded adults.
More Activity, More Results
While it is sometimes difficult for families to keep up with increased schedules and costs, exposing young children to the maximum variety of sports is increasingly proving to be beneficial.