I read an article on Facebook the other day that left me thinking. In the article a Hall of Famer offers great advice regarding the rise of Tommy John surgeries and how playing multiple sports is a better way to go rather than specializing.
Personally, I believe participating in multiple sports is better for the player because:
1) “In a study of 1200 youth athletes, Dr Neeru Jayanthi of Loyola University found that early specialization in a single sport is one of the strongest predictors of injury. Athletes in the study who specialized were 70% to 93% more likely to be injured than children who played multiple sports!” Source listed:
2) Participating in a single sport may develop the skills required for that sport but does not necessarily develop a better athlete.
3) Kids who specialize at an early age may burn out or get tired of the sport.
4) Athletes may suffer from overuse injuries when specializing at an early age.
5) Different sports work different muscles, and playing multiple sports actually helps your child become a better athlete.
6) High school and college coaches like multi-sport players; it shows dedication and commitment. These players may be offered scholarships for a variety of sports. Unlike the athlete who chose to specialize and his options are limited.
So if you are looking to positively impact your child’s development, go multi-sports, structured and unstructured activities while he/she is young. Let him learn the fundamentals and develop an athlete before focusing on specializing.