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Why you should try multiple sports before choosing one?

Any type of sport is interesting because it helps a person develop their physical, mental and psychological capabilities. A sport is enjoyable because it keeps one engaged in the moment. In order for that experience to sustain, one should try to juggle and try different types of sports activities instead of just focusing on one.

Many parents believe that when their kids focus on just one sport right from their childhood, they will perform or achieve better in that chosen athletic career. However, research suggests otherwise. According to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children are facing a higher risk of “overuse injuries” from concentrating in a single sport. As per the estimates of Benioff Children’s Hospital, University of California, 60 percent of the young patients come in because of injuries they’ve sustained from concentrating on a single sport year-round. Those children who focus on a variety of sports activities in their initial days, actually perform on their chosen sports track (that they specialize later) much better. The stats also suggest to us that many world-class players grew up playing multiple sports like Cricketing legends MS Dhoni, Vivian Richards, AB de Villiers, Don Bradman or the well-renowned basketball player Michael Jordan to quote a few.

Muscle development: When a person is involved in many sports activities, they have overall good muscle coordination, better balance, speed, eye-hand coordination, and agility, apart from a great physique. While some sports like football may help work on the lower part of the body, sports like volleyball, cricket can help flex the upper body muscles. Concentrating on just one sport will develop one type of muscle only and may also weaken it over time.

Sports skills and Life skills: Sports helps nurture life skills. As the word sportsmanship suggests, sports help to create a fair and generous treatment of others. By involving in multiple sports activities, the children get exposed to different teams, players and their mindsets. This opportunity helps them develop better social skills, be more flexible and coachable. It also makes them good competitors, gives them an experience to different situations and to cope with the same. With different rules of different games, a child involved in more than one sport learns to better conduct himself/herself with good values and ethics.

Physical and Emotional Burnout: Focusing purely on one game, spending the time, energy and resources on it, makes one up their game skills, but single point focus can lead to monotony and can impede performance in some cases too. With many matches and tournaments played (and possibly won), the expectations also skyrocket with the parents which can cause emotional and physical burnouts in their kids.

Psychological health: A sport can have a winner and a loser. While it is disheartening to lose, “A day that breaks you often makes you” is very true. A game loss can make a person or team work harder, play smarter, up their game strategy, study their opponents better and finally make the winning moments happen in the next opportunity. This is very true on and off the field and an important lesson to imbibe in life. Sports sampling helps the kids to explore which sports they like more, their bodies cope better, where their heart is truly in and make them decide for themselves which they will pursue as their athletic endeavors. All the more a child’s pursuit of sports is because it is fun. A variety can always help retain that curiosity, fun and make good friends for life.

Children become decision-makers: A child when exposed to different sports will eventually identify the sports of their liking and can choose the one that suits him. It helps them make their own decisions instead of having to succumb to parental pressure. This makes them stay connected and committed to the sports longer compared to being in a sport because of their parent’s compulsion or choice. A person can be competitive sporty, team sporty, or a solo sporty type, whichever category he/she belongs to, they can best judge the game to pursue once they have tried playing multiple sports and identified the one that befits them.

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