The Pros and Cons of Specializing in a Sport at a Young Age
The Pros and Cons of Sport Specialization at a Young Age
Are you thinking about helping your child specialize in a sport, but worried that they may be too young? Read on to learn the different pros and cons of sport specialization.
Keyword(s): Sport specialization
Once upon a time, kids who enjoyed playing sports would take part in several different sports throughout the course of the year. They would play football in fall, basketball in winter, and baseball in spring.
Then, they would repeat the process once fall came around again. It helped them get a feel for different sports and spread their athletic wings.
But in recent years, sport specialization is something that's become more and more common among kids. Nearly 50 percent of kids today specialize in playing just one sport and spend the entire year training for and playing it.
There are many pros and cons that come along with sport specialization. If you're thinking about having your child specialize in a sport, you should consider both sides before you do it.
Pro: Kids Can Perfect Their Skills in One Sport
The biggest advantage that comes along with sport specialization is that it will allow your child to devote all of their time to getting better at the sport of their choice.
Let's say they really love playing soccer. With sport specialization, they'll get the chance to put all of their focus on becoming a better soccer player.
They won't have to worry about putting their soccer cleats away in the winter so that they can focus on basketball. Instead, they'll spend their winter working on improving their skills so that they're ready to go once soccer season comes back around again.
By taking this approach, your child will be able to grow as a soccer player by leaps and bounds. It will put them in a better position to play soccer at the various levels and could even improve their chances of playing in college or in the pros one day.
Con: Kids Miss Out on Obtaining Other Athletic Skills
Thanks to sport specialization, your child will be able to perfect the skills that are necessary to excel in their favorite sport.
But one of the downsides of this is that they won't get the chance to work on perfecting their skills in other sports.
They might know how to kick a soccer ball into a net. But they won't necessarily know how to make a tackle on the football field or shoot a basketball through a hoop.
There are also some other sports your soccer-loving child might excel at, and those sports could ultimately help them pick up certain skills that would improve their skills on the soccer field.
For example, if your child chooses to run track during the offseason, it can help with speed and agility. Or if they play baseball, they'll be able to improve their hand-eye coordination.
Those who practice specialization sometimes miss out on the chance to add skills to their repertoire.
Pro: Kids Can Build Up Their Confidence Playing One Sport
There aren't many kids who are good at every sport they play. Every now and then, you'll come across a kid who is so athletic that he or she steals the spotlight in every arena.
But for the most part, your athletic child is probably going to be excellent at one sport and so-so at the others.
With sport specialization, your child will be able to take the sport they're most passionate about and use it to build up their confidence. They will practice hard, get good results on the field, and become more confident in their abilities.
But there is a chance that confidence could be shattered if they play another sport that they're not so good at. They might start to doubt themselves when they step outside of their preferred sport.
Con: Kids Tend to Get Tired of Playing One Sport All the Time
Most kids who enjoy playing sports enjoy playing more than just one.
But sport specialization can rob them of the opportunity to take part in a variety of different sports throughout the year.
As a result, kids can get burnt out over time and lose their love for their favorite sports. In some cases, kids will even quit a sport before they reach high school simply because they've had enough of it in elementary and middle school.
You should speak with your child about burnout and recognize that it's a very real thing. The last thing you want is to push your child too hard in one sport and have them come to hate it.
Pro: Kids Can Make Sure They Truly Love a Sport
While you do want to be careful with regards to burnout, sport specialization can give your child the chance to experience all a sport has to offer. This will allow them to see how much they actually love it.
When you play sports in college or at the pro level, you have to be ready to devote yourself to it. When you practice one sport from a young age, you'll show your devotion to your sport and prepare yourself for everything it will throw at you.
Con: Kids Can Suffer Overuse Injuries Playing Just One Sport
When kids only play one sport, they tend to use the same muscles over and over again when they're practicing and playing.
This can lead to overuse injuries that will put kids on the sidelines long before they should have to worry about injuries at all.
If your child uses one repetitive motion when playing sports--like pitching a baseball or softball--they could be at an increased risk for injury.
By encouraging them to play other sports throughout the year, you can give some of their muscles a break and allow them to develop in other ways.
Is Sport Specialization Right for Your Child?
Only you and your child can decide if sport specialization is the right choice for your family.
Whether you settle on it or not, you should think about enrolling your child in soccer to see what it has to offer. We can tell you all about the benefits of playing soccer with us and show you and your child how much fun soccer is.
Check out our blog to read some helpful soccer tips.