If you are a middle-class kid, you are most likely playing a sport or have in the past. We are fortunate enough to have many choices around us and exercise is highly encouraged in our society. Some kids even play multiple sports at the same time. However, is this the way to go?
Whether it is baseball and basketball or lacrosse and volleyball, if you are playing more than one of any sport, you considered a multi-sport athlete. Looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each can show you what is best for you.
There are a variety of advantages of playing more than one sport. Each sport you play teaches something new. The environment is different and you grow more as a person if you expose yourself to these new experiences. You also become healthier and in better shape due to more exercise and playing different sports works a different part of your body. When you are a single-sport athlete and constantly using the same muscles in your body, you are more prone to injury from overuse.
As you are growing up, working your body and mind diversely gives you an advantage. A study by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine said that playing multiple sports as a young kid greatly benefits you in the future. The greatest advantage is if you played two similar sports growing up, like lacrosse and basketball. Each is their own game but they are a similar sport. Other combinations might include ringette and hockey or cross country running and soccer. If you play both and decide in the future to just take up one of the sports, playing both all those years would help you to become an excellent player in the one due to all the extra practice and work you had.
Other than actually going out on the field or skating onto the rink, a big part of sport is the team atmosphere. Being in a team atmosphere is the one of most amazing things a kid can have growing up. They are there for you when you need and always work hard. When you are on a team you are not only playing for yourself but also your coaches, friends and parents. Having the team mentality and support when you are playing creates an environment that is hard to find anywhere else. Being on a team gives you a sense of family. If some kids are a hard time at home, they find happiness in playing sports since it gives them the family atmosphere they need.
Playing different sports throughout the year has prevented me from injury and each sport has helped me play the other that much better. Growing up single-sport is extremely hard on your body. Each sport requires usage in different part of your body so if you only play one it is likely to injure yourself due to overuse.
Along with their advantages, multi-sport athletes also has disadvantages too.
As you get older, school becomes harder: you suddenly have other priorities and not enough time. Multi-Sport athletes will struggle with this the most. It becomes a hard decision when your friends go out constantly but you always have to respond with,“Sorry, I can’t; I have soccer.” That happens so frequently you fear they will end up forgetting to invite you at all. Missing out is something nobody enjoys It is going to be hard to decide what you want to do in life and it’s always the worst when you know you have to give something up, whether it is a club sport, school sports or spending time with your friends.
Other than time management, multi-sport athletes will struggle with commitment. When you play at a high level, coaches and teammates expect commitment. Commitment is not something big to ask for at a high level so you might have to make some decisions. If you play two or three sports at a time, they are going to conflict and you are going to have to choose. If you are someone who is okay with making those choices, then it shouldn’t be a problem for you.
Single-sport athletes are focused on one game and normally play at a high level.
It is obvious that If you want to be the best, you will have to give it your all. Single-sport athletes will be much more talented at the sport they are playing compared to an multi-sport athlete playing the same sport. Single-sport athletes just spend more of their time practicing. The highest-level players that make it to the top have based their life around the one sport. If you are a kid with the dream to play in the NHL, focusing on hockey growing up gives you a better chance of getting there. Most athletes are willing to commit for the clubs that provide improved facilities, more training time and better coaches. You are more likely to get offered a scholarship to play for a university or college. It is most likely that scouts for universities and colleges only go to watch the highest-level clubs play. If that is something you think you would want to go for it will take commitment, consistency and hard work.
Another advantage to being a single-sport athlete is the confidence it helps you develop. The more successful someone is in whatever they do, the more confidence they will feel. Single-sport athletes can become confident in themselves after many hours of practice and that is extremely important because confidence is the one thing you need if you want to be successful.
The disadvantages of growing up playing one sport is that you might not always love it. Being the best is something every person wants to strive for; however, you don’t want to burn yourself out and lose the fun. It is common for kids growing up playing one sport to end up quitting because it is simply not fun for them anymore. You only are young once so make the most of it and do what you love. Make sure whatever you do in life, you are enjoying it or else it isn’t worth it. Do you really want to look back at your teenage years and feel like they were wasted? Love what you do and you will be happy.
You are more likely to injure yourself and if you give everything to one sport and if you do get injured or quit, you don’t have as much to fall back on.
In the end, it all depends on the type of person you are, what environment you are the happiest in and what will be the best path to follow your dreams. Personally, I have enjoyed growing up as a multi-sport athlete. It has allowed me to grow as an athlete and a person.
It is your life and you choose what to do, to be a single sport or multi-sport athlete.