Today’s kids have a lot of options when it comes to sports. It’s important for them to explore what’s out there to participate in. They don’t have to settle on just one. Playing different sports means learning different techniques and rules. Multi-sport athletes work different muscle groups and stay in shape year around.
Chances are your child’s favorite athlete dabbled in more than one sport. Most pros did not specialize until they were almost 15 years old. The list of well-known athletes that played multiples sports is a long one starting with Olympic hero, Jim Thorpe, along with Jackie Robinson, Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, just to name a few.
Specializing in one sport too early can lead to overuse injuries and burnout. Playing multiple sports can make your child a better all around athlete. When athletes have an understanding of various sports and game or play strategies it can build confidence, making them mentally and physically tougher when it comes to crunchtime.
Changing it up can lead to new experiences and friendships. My son plays club hockey most of the year but plays spring soccer for his school. He enjoyed putting on a different uniform and using different equipment. He liked being outside in the sun for practice rather than on the ice. He plays forward in hockey but is on defense in soccer. By playing both positions, it helped him understand the scoring dynamics of both sports.
Friendships naturally develop when playing on a team together and he hangs out with players from both hockey and soccer. These teammates have different interests and backgrounds and getting to spend time with both helps with self-esteem and character development.
It’s also good for your child to play for different coaches. They learn different coaching styles and are tested in different ways when playing more than one sport. Our family is not counting on a scholarship in either sport to help pay for our son’s college. Getting an athletic scholarship is a longshot. Only seven percent of high school athletes move on to play in college and about half of those get some kind of athletic scholarship. He is out there skating and kicking to stay in shape, have fun and make memories.