There is an increasing trend in children’s recreational sports of single-sport specialization at a very young age. Although it seems like it could be beneficial to put all energy and focus on mastering one sport, the opposite is true. While multi-sport athletes are a sad rarity these days, they could have a leg up on the competition. Here are five reasons why you should foster your child’s love for and commitment to multiple sports.
1. Multi-Sport Athletes Avoid Burnout
By the end of a sports season, everyone can be a little worn down. From seeing the same teammates a few times every week to running the same drills at practice, kids are at risk of developing some serious burnout. A fun way to combat against this burnout is to stay involved with different sports. This can provide a Ninja with different challenges and in turn, different types of fulfillment by giving the young athlete varied levels and types of challenges.
2. Develop Different Skills
Playing in a wide range of sports can help young athletes with their overall athleticism. Each season can work a different set of muscles which results in better overall whole-body strength. Each sport that an athlete plays comes with a different structure and different set of challenges to overcome. For example, it may not seem like your soccer player could benefit from swinging a bat, but that can further develop the muscle groups needed for farther throw-ins. The broad physical developments offered by playing multiple sports can have far reaching benefits.
3. Reduced Overuse Injury Risk
Overuse injuries such as tennis elbow, runner’s knee, swimmer’s shoulder are common in single-sport athletes and can end a season or even an athlete’s career. Multi-sport athletes run less of a risk of overtraining one specific muscle or group of muscles. By resting an overused shoulder or knee by playing a different sport in the off-season, an athlete builds a whole-body strength and puts less strain on specific areas, resulting in fewer injuries and downtime overall for the athlete.
4. Develop a Competitive Edge
Learning to compete across sports and skill levels translates to more grit. Ninjas learn how to deal with adversity because even though you might be the star shortstop on your baseball team, it won’t mean you’re the star quarterback next football season. Each season the athlete will have to come out and give 100% effort. Skills that the athlete learns can transfer from sport to sport, as well as the conditioning gained. Running around the field as a center on a soccer team in the fall helps condition the athlete for running up and down a court during the basketball season. The focus required to compete at the highest level across different sets of rules and settings can take children far in both sports and life.
5. Discover Something New
A final benefit of being a multi-sport athlete is the ability to discover new loves for different sports. By experimenting on the off-season, athletes can find a real talent or passion for something they wouldn’t have tried while only playing one sport. Trying things like a ninja gym, indoor soccer league, or swim team can give Ninjas a way to find not just what they are most talented at, but what they enjoy the most.