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Should Boys and Girls Play Multiple Sports or Specialize?

Playing multiple sports:

The question of whether or not to play multiple sports has turned from a simple question into a raging debate over the past decade.  Parents, coaches, players have argued vehemently on both sides of this decisive issue.

I believe the answer to this question lies simply in the first word on this page (playing). This word is synonymous in sports, yet often overlooked and forgotten.  Playing baseball is not a job, nor is playing soccer a job.

We as parents and coaches need to allocate all of our resources and allow our children and players to experience as many different avenues as possible.  We must use our best resources which often includes patience to allow these children to play and discover.  It is only through experience that these kids will grow and have a chance to decide for themselves which path they want to take.

Parents:  Allow your children to play multiple sports.  You are not stunting their growth in one particular sport.  You are broadening your child’s view of the world.  Through experience we learn, through experience we grow, and through experience we decide what is best.  Gas miles might pile up and certain limitations might be made but do not limit the experience of your child based on your preconceived notions.

Coaches:  Encourage your athletes to play multiple sports.  Truly encourage them to play multiple sports and other activities.   As a coach, practice time is vital and often, certain players will miss because of other practices with other sports.  This is a tricky situation often solved by upfront communication at the beginning of the year.

A coach should hold a meeting with parents and players at the beginning of the year and explain the importance and acceptance of multiple sports, but also explain the necessity of attending practice.  Rules and guidelines need to be set before the year starts.  A coach needs to stick to those guidelines that he or she has set throughout the year.  (Example: if a player misses practice before a game, that player will not start but will play in the game)  Other rules can be decided upon based on the coach but consistency and communication will resolve most issues.

Players:  Playing multiple sports will allow for a well- rounded sports experience but it will also test your ability to manage your time.  Remember you are choosing to “play” more often and that means you will be given less time to accomplish life’s other responsibilities.  Schoolwork can never take a backseat and should always come first. Multiple sport athletes might fall behind early in the year but catch up and even progress further because there is less burnout.  More importantly, sports are about growing and each sport teaches you different elements.

Remember “play, play, play”

Until next time,

Chad

 

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