3 Benefits of Playing Multiple Sports for Youth Athletes
A debate rages on at the youth sports level regarding participation in multiple sports: should children focus on, or “specialize,” in one sport, or should they participate in numerous different sports throughout the year? Major sports organizations including the NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA and U.S. Olympic Committee have all voiced their support for multi-sport play among youth athletes as part of The Aspen Institute’s Project Play campaign. Here are 3 benefits of playing multiple sports for youth athletes:
1. Better Performance in All Sports
One of the benefits athletes competing in multiple youth sports experience is a better all-around performance in all sports! Participation in multiple sports tends to help improve coordination and muscle control, in turn elevating your level of play in each! Repeatedly performing a variety of athletic movements, like those required in sports, can aid athletes in the development of numerous skills. Different sports have different physical demands, meaning improvement in each of those areas as opposed to just one focus in a singular sport. Agility, endurance, flexibility, power, speed, stability and strength are all attributes that are developed from neuromuscular control learned across competing in multiple sports.
2. Health Positives
Participating in sports in general brings with it health advantages like helping build and maintain healthy bones, joints and muscles; helping control weight and reduce fat; and delaying or preventing the occurrence of high blood pressure! Playing multiple youth sports has even greater health benefits as athletes tend to be more active and better fit in numerous categories! Additionally, overuse injuries tend to occur among athletes who specialize in one sport. According to a study from researchers at the University of Texas and Tarleton State University, “Overuse injuries are a consequence of repeated microtrauma in a tendon, muscle, or bone associated with chronic repetition of specific sport activities — tennis serving, baseball pitching, gymnastic routines, running, and shoulder action in swimming, for example.”
3. Less Risk of Burnout & Stress
Multi-sport play in youth sports has been found to reduce burnout, which develops over time more frequently in those who specialize in a single sport. Burnout leaves youth athletes feeling that he or she can not meet the physical or psychological demands the sport requires of them, per the 2010 study. Along with burnout comes the threat of stress. By competing in multiple sports, young athletes tend to be less likely to put all their eggs in one basket. Putting that type of pressure on oneself can lead to additional stress. When athletes experience less stress and are less likely to burn out, they tend to be more likely to experience lifelong enjoyment in the sport. Without anything pushing them away from sports, athletes tend to love the sport longer.
We’re happy to fill you in on the benefits of playing multiple sports for youth athletes! If you’re interested in your child getting involved in youth sports, learn more about why you should play at Rocky Top Sports World!