Why I think upcoming athletes shouldn’t specialize until they have to.
How often do you hear about a kid that is “the next big thing,” but years later you read that they haven’t amounted to much on the field/court/rink etc.? All the time. Why does that happen though? Mainly due to injury, but also it can be burnout. There are a few reasons why I push my boys to play multiple sports, regardless of which is their favorite.
1. Reduce Burn out!
You have to remember that a kid needs to enjoy what they are doing, or what is the point? I don’t mean enjoy it all the time, because trust me there will be some hard times and hard lessons learned from sport, but overall there should be some enjoyment. Think of a kid’s attention span, now think of the grind of an entire season, and then they don’t get any down time or reset. That’s a recipe for burning the child out before they even get to see where their skills/hard work can take them.
2. Reduce Injury!
Repetitive use of the same joints, ligaments, or muscle groups can really put a damper on the development of the entire body. By specializing early, you don’t give the body time to rest after a ton of strain. It’s like working out without a rest day, but you only do chest. Eventually, you will strain your chest and be forced to sit out. If you want your kid to have a long career in their sport, let them vary it up with other activities!
3. Increase Mental Toughness!
If your kid has to learn and play new sports regularly, they will develop more body awareness that will lend itself to the sport they might eventually specialize in. But it also forces them to consistently learn, be coached by different people, and be a part of different teams, which helps them become more accepting and mentally “on it.” They will have to overcome obstacles from learning new sports, and mastering them, thus exposing them to more opportunities to increase their mental strength.
That’s all I got folks. Just something that has been on my mind, when my little dudes just want to play baseball.. but we have wrestling practice! Pay the man.