We are living in a world of specializations – be it medical field, fashion designing or food. In the world of fine arts, we call it ‘genres’. And there is scramble to find our specializations at the earliest, so we can carve a niche for ourselves in the rat-race to be at an advantage. The world of sport is no different.
In fact, most parents and coaches, driven by the enthusiasm of having kids play an actual sport, try to decide their ‘specialty’ as soon as a sport is taken up and encourage them to focus their attention on that one skill in that particular sport. Well, to our credit, we want our kids to focus on what could be their forte, instead having their fingers in various pies.
Then the drive for professionalization also comes from a belief that specialization will prevent injuries and if not attended to, will have the kids “fall behind” or “be unable to play to the next level”.
But these are myths. In reality, benefits of playing multiple sports are aplenty – improving fitness, motivation, confidence and creativity. Being exposed to multiple sports increases the chances of discovering inner passion that is essential for success.
Specialty leads to a greater chance of injury
Well, it is logical – specialized young athletes tend to keep repeating the same movements with the same sets of muscles everyday of the week. The wear-and-tear of these muscles is far greater, obviously; but is seen less in young athletes who tend to use different sets of muscles, playing different sports.
Athletic movement and sports skills transfer
Did you know that jumping for basketball works the same muscles swimmers use to push off the starting blocks? This is just one example – but you get the idea…
Multi-sport athletes learn to compete
Each sport is unique; and each sport has its own levels of unique focus and resiliency. Some games are more drawn out while others are about pacing and endurance. Broader the athlete’s exposure, better the resiliency and focus.
Multi sport athletes have greater IQ
The develop a feel for any sport they play – doing different sports enables the players to not only transfer their movements but also learn to appreciate different types of movements. Cross-training helps them be more creative and less mechanical in their approach to their sport.
We may call them young athletes, but they are kids. And kids always tend to stop enjoying something they have to keep doing day in and day out. In short, they hate routine and love variety. Multi sport routine keeps athletes on toes, literally, and keeps burn-out t bay.
Better team mates
It is simple, really. They interact with variety of teammates and coaches within different contexts. What better training than this can there be for any sportsperson!