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Before you push your kids to focus on one sport, consider these benefits

of switching things up.

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There are many benefits of getting kids involved in organized sports when they’re young. Being active from a young age helps kids stay healthier and sets the stage for them becoming more active adults. Participating in sports gives kids an opportunity to socialize with peers outside of a classroom setting and helps them develop physical and mental skills. It may also enhance their self-esteem and improve self-discipline.

Although playing sports offers many benefits, does that mean it’s a good idea for kids to focus on perfecting just one sport? Or is it better if they switch off the sports they play depending on the season – for example, playing baseball in summer but soccer in fall?

Research shows that participation in multiple sports can lead to better performance and makes it more likely kids will become successful athletes as they get older.

“Switching sports allow better recovery and use of different body parts and muscles that may reduce overuse injuries. These injuries can  permanently damage children’s joints and potentially inhibit their overall growth. Encouraging your kids to play multiple sports will help better prepare them for life. They’ll have more fun and become better overall athletes in the long run.”

-Dawn R. Vick, Pediatric Medicine, MD, FAAP

Some benefits of exposing kids to multiple sports are:

  • It gives kids a chance to discover what they like about different sports
  • It reduces the chance of injury resulting from overuse or overtraining
  • It allows kids to develop skills that transfer from one sport to another
  • It lets kids enjoy playing for the sake of the game rather than focusing only on winning
  • It provides valuable learning opportunities as kids adapt to different coaches, training styles and teammates

With a focus on being hyper-competitive these days, unfortunately many kids tend to specialize in a single sport from a young age. But playing a single sport year-round may have drawbacks, including increasing the risk of overuse injuries and causing burnout that results in the child giving up the sport, among others.

Getting your kids involved in organized sports can provide them wtih numerous benefits. But before you get caught up in thinking that having them focus on just one sport will make them a better athlete, think again. Playing multiple sports is more likely to keep kids interested in the game and less likely to keep them sidelined with injuries. It may also lead to the development of better overall athletes and may even better prepare them for life.

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Date Last Reviewed: May 14, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Andrew P. Overman, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS

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