Children could benefit from sports in so many ways, such as being physically fit, developing skills that will help them in different sporting activities and/or during different daily activities. Moreover, feeling good, confident and certain are traits that children could obtain from participating in sports. Most importantly, no matter if it is an individual or team sport your child enjoys, new friendships are part of the field. Later on, a child that shines in one sport will feel the fun-challenge that a competition has.
However, forcing your child to participate in a single sport (e.g football or basketball) at an early age may lead to harmful consequences. Many sports medicine experts support that focusing in one sport could increase the risk of physical injuries and stress.
In contact sports, the main concerns are the injuries affecting the same muscle groups and joints, as by continually playing just one sport, athletes are repeatedly activating the same muscles. Muscles and joints are overworked and the possibility of a more serious injury becomes higher.
Try Not To Specialise At One Sport From A Young Age!
Logan and Cuff (2019) and the American Academy of Paediatrics recommend that young athletes minimize the risks associated with specialization by waiting until the age 15 to focus on a specific sport. What you can do as a parent, is to either encourage your child to participate in 2-3 sport of their choice as with the pass of time, they will make their decision on their own probably before the age of 15. On the other hand, if they only want to participate in one sport you may encourage them to try few different sports or activities at home in their free time!
From a personal experience, when I was coaching at a football academy, I used to have children doing really great in more than one sports! It was great, as the skills that they developed in each sport somehow benefit the other at some extend.
Take Home Points:
- Young athletes are advised to play more than one sports in order to avoid overworking repeatedly same muscles and joints
- Try not to focus at one sport only from a really young age
- Children benefit both physically and mentally from both individual or team sports
- Playing more than one sports could help develop different skills that may be later critical at the child’s chosen sport!
- If the child chooses only one sport to participate, try and encourage them to try different types of sport activities maybe at home or at school
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