Why You Should Let Your Kids Play More Than One Sport

An experienced coach explains why kids are better off playing multiple sports
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“We don’t have time for other sports.”

Are you this parent? One weekend you found out that your son or daughter is a beast!

They hit four home runs, scored five touchdowns, set records in the pool and just crushed the competition in a sport.

You thought to yourself, “Wow! Time to stop all other sports because this is his/her sport. This is the one that’s going to get them a scholarship.”

Your kid could get a scholarship and even make it in the pros since they are so good and so young. “Let’s just focus on one sport and make them perfect at that sport. “

HELL NOOOOOOOOO!

It’s crazy to me that this is still happening today. Parents and coaches still aren’t getting it.

A very good friend of mine paid a visit to a Big Ten school this past weekend for a football camp with his son. Here is the story that he told me:

The football camp had over 200 athletes from all over the country there to learn and show off their skills. The head coach of the Big Ten team was checking out all of the athletes when he noticed the #1 and #2 top high school quarterbacks in the county. They were both 6’3″ and 6’5″ 200 pound beasts of kids who could throw the football a mile. 

Both guys were in contention for a possible scholarship offer.  The head coach took 15 minutes to work with them. His approach? He told the kids that he wanted to see them dunk a football over the goal post with one hand, then with two hands and finally he wanted to see their most creative dunk.

That was it!

After he saw what he came to see he took off on his golf cart and smiled at the more athletic of the two. The two quarterbacks just sat there and looked absolutely befuddled at what had just happened.

Let’s think about this now.

The #1 and #2 recruits for quarterbacks in the country were not asked to throw a football or do anything football related. Rather they were asked to perform something completely outside of their sport… Something that required pure athleticism… Hmmmm what does that tell you?

Tells me that more and more coaches are now recruiting multiple-sport athletes!

If you are specializing your kid into one sport at a young age you are not helping them. You are actually hurting them.

Here is why:

  • Burnout
  • Overuse Injuries
  • Decreasing the chance of scholarship
  • You are setting them up to be unhealthy

1. Burnout 
Hopefully by now you know that kids get burnt out easier when they specialize at a young age. Don’t believe me?

Ok, well think about this:

In 2006 I arrived to Michigan State with 14 other recruits. I was in the middle of the pack at best. No scholarship besides a preferred walk-on spot.

After five years that 2006 recruiting class of 14 guys turned into two. Yep! Out of 14 guys only two actually completed their careers. By the second year over half of them were burnt out. They wrestled way more than I did growing up and a lot of them were only one-sport athletes.  

2. Overuse Injuries 
Baseball players = rotator cuff injuries.

Basketball players = Osgood Slaughter.

Football players = concussions.

These are just three examples that I see way too often at my job. Kids travel and play in three different soccer leagues or three different baseball leagues all summer long with no breaks. Then after a while…. Boom! There goes the hamstring or there goes the rotator cuff.

Bottom line is that when you specialize you repeat movements over and over. If you are doing them too often or incorrectly then you are bound for injury. Not what you want when you want your kids to earn a scholarship, right?

If you play the same sport over and over way too much then you are going to get injured.

3. Increased Chances for Scholarships
Yeah I said it. Increase their chances for a scholarship.

It’s time for parents to get ahead of the curve. I was fortunate enough to work at the college level for 2.5 years at a very strong Division I University. The coaches do not care about AAU championships or how many state titles kids won when they were 12 years old. They want athletes!

When you play multiple sports you are learning new skills that you can use in any sport.

Basketball can give you the foot quickness you can use in football.

A hockey slap shot can help you develop power for your golf swing.

Learning sprint form in track can help you run better on the soccer field.

Are you getting my drift?

Coaches today want to see multiple sport athletes. If you still don’t believe me then check this out:

ohio state football recruits

4. Potential for Unhealthy Habits in the Future
Let me put that another way: You are increasing the chances of your kids becoming fat.

If your kids grow up active playing sports all year round then they are going to develop an itch for sports.

That itch will come out every time they are at a party and sports are involved. They will play. They will exercise and they will live healthy.

On the other hand if your kid only grew up playing one sport and ended up hating that sport then the chances of them exercising are way less.

Think of it like this: Eventually your kids will go off to college or move away and be on their own. When they do there will be times when friends ask them to go for a hike, play pick-up basketball or just do anything active.

Set your kids up by teaching them to play sports and being active at a young age.

Sports are a great form of exercising. Exercising is needed for being healthy. They go hand in hand, man.

Specializing is not the answer in the world of sports today. Give your kids the best chance for success by allowing them to play any sport they desire.  Encourage them, support them and be their hero.

At Xceleration we train our athletes to be fast, efficient and powerful in all sports.

Check us out here: How your kid can be good at ALL sports. 

Start your kid on a program today and change his or her life!

For more info, email me here : ben.boudro@gmail.com

Chase It!

-Ben Boudro

More Reading:
What Parents Do for Their Kids' Sports
8 Important Life Lessons Kids Learn Playing Sports
Confidence, Self-Esteem and 4 Other Reasons Kids Should Play Organized Sports

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