In today’s world of youth sports, it can feel like if your child hasn’t specialized in a sport before 5th grade, they’re all but washed up. But the reality is, only playing one sport, season after season and year after year, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, many health professionals agree that kids need to play organized sports, non organized (i.e. ride their bikes for fun), and get a variety of each. The developmental benefits of being a multi sport player come in several forms:
From a physical prospective, specializing in one sport can have negative effects on a child’s growing body. Overuse injuries are common among kids playing the same sport season after season. However, being active in several different areas allows for a greater variety of motor skill and muscle development and growth. For example, playing soccer can increase speed for the basketball court. Sports that require different muscle groups and coordination are ideal combinations for multi-sport athletes.
It can be easy to forget about the emotional side of sports. But growth for many athletes happens on the mental side just as much as the physical. Being a multi-sport athlete allows players to not only learn to thrive in different environments, but also how to work with different coaches and teammates too. Adapting to new things is a huge lesson for kids to learn and often a field or court is the perfect place to do so.
In addition, preventing sports burn out is just as important. If an athlete is only exposed to one sport, one team, one coach, and they don’t like one of those factors, it can be enough to turn them off to that sport, or sports all together. Giving them a variety of options and environments to try may be just the thing to keep them in the game.
How Arcadia Youth Basketball Can Help
While it may seem like a great idea to have your child play multiple sports, doing so can be a huge commitment for families – especially those with multiple kids. At AYB, we encourage our athletes to play multiple sports, and we make it possible for families with set practice and game times, and a set location for our rec league, making navigating more than one sport at a time a greater possibility.
If you’re still not convinced, consider this; Michael Jordan didn’t pick up a basketball until he was in high school. Not only that, he was cut the first season he tried out. That loss pushed him to improve his skills and make the varsity team the following year and the rest is history. And while his Major League career didn’t work out, he had developed the skills to make the Double-A team.