The Downsides of Specializing Early

In this current day and age, with such hyper-competitive sports starting from such an early age, more and more young athletes are feeling the pressure to specialize and choose one sport to focus their energy on from an early age. While it may seem like it would be more beneficial for a young athlete to focus on honing their skills at just one sport early on, this is more than likely not always the case.

While there are some positives to focusing on one sport, there are many more advantages to competing in multiple sports that can prove invaluable to young athletes:

  1. Train Your Body

    One of the advantages of young athletes playing multiple sports is utilizing the different movements required in each sport and teaching your body to move in different ways. For example, running track can work on speed, while a sport like football that has more cutting movements can help improve agility and footwork movements. To a similar note, the throwing motion of a baseball is completely different than the throwing motion of a football.

  2. Teamwork

    Competing in multiple sports can also teach you different types of teamwork and leadership that are cultivated among each environment. Learning to work together with teammates in a sport like baseball that is very much broken up in the style of thinking of “one pitch at a time” can be completely different than a “big picture” sport like soccer, where there is constant action and minimal breaks to gather yourself.

  3. Activate Different Muscle Groups

    The training and work put in the weight room for each sport can also be very different, which can target and activate some of the muscles in a different way than they usually may be worked. Lifting for basketball, for example, is oftentimes more focused on low-weight/high-rep exercises, as opposed to a more mass-oriented sport such as football. Endurance sports, such as cross-country, can also be a huge help for any athlete, while also providing more competition as they are staying in shape.

As a former collegiate basketball and baseball player, I often gravitate to these sports to find inspiration and tips from athletes.  Here’s a quick clip from Curtis Granderson on How Playing Multiple Sports Shaped His Career.  No matter your sport, it may help yours too!

As you are considering different sports and training approaches, it is important to not only pride yourself on becoming a skilled and disciplined athlete, but a balanced athlete! Check out Team Cura’s Skills Beyond Drills℠ training program that provides athletes the opportunity to engage with another training opportunity for communication, professionalism and social media presence. Coaches look for those skills in balanced on and off the field athletes.

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