Why Playing Multiple Sports is the Better Game Plan

7 months ago

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Is it better to play multiple sports or specialize in a single one?

It’s a question that many parents wonder, especially those whose children have (or may soon have) athletic scholarship opportunities. While it’s easy to understand why some people think specializing gives you the best chance to reach your potential, most experts feel playing multiple sports is actually the surer path to athletic success.

Playing multiple sports as kids helped several current and former basketball players reach the pinnacle of their professions. Danny Ainge, Tony Gwynn, Donovan McNabb and yes, Michael Jordan, are just a few examples of multi-sport stars turned single-sport phenoms. Heck, even Derek Jeter played basketball in high school!

While putting all of your energies behind a single sport may seem like the right move for young athletes looking to maximize their abilities — and thus, their chances of earning a scholarship — there are several reasons diversifying your skills might be the better game plan.

Gain New Skills:

Many of the skills children develop in one sport are transferrable to others. Want proof? Look no further than the NFL, where three of the best tight ends in league history (Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham) learned how to box out defensive backs in football by first mastering the art of rebounding in basketball.

Injury Prevention:

Playing multiple sports requires you to exercise different muscle groups and engage in different body movements, helping make you a more balanced and dynamic athlete. More importantly, it mitigates the risk of injury caused by overusing certain muscle groups, which is common for single-sport specialists. The risk of injury is especially high for children, whose bodies are still developing.

No Love Lost:

Playing the same sport 12 months a year can burn you out, both physically and emotionally. Cliché alert, but at the end of the day, sports are supposed to be fun. Going all-in on a single sport can be tiresome, monotonous and raise your expectations for success to a level that’s unattainable. A change of scenery can help you gain perspective and prevent apathy from creeping in.

Live Skills:

Competing in multiple sports with different teammates is a great way to develop new relationships and experience different styles of coaching. Additionally, it will help you see games from a different perspective, and may even force you to accept a different, lesser role.

Give Yourself More Options:

Putting all of your eggs in one basket is fine, up until the point where it isn’t. Injuries, competition, environmental factors and otherwise can all force you to abandon your preferred sport earlier than you’d like. Playing multiple sports helps maximize your chances of success.


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Tags:  sports health safety