The Importance of Being a Multi-Sport Athlete
With fall sports coming to an end, it’s important for student athletes to stay active. Finding motivation to stay in shape throughout the offseason may be hard to come by for some, but by playing two or more sports it’s easy to keep conditioned and motivated year round. Multi-sport participation is also key for keeping a young athlete well rounded as well as for opening more doorways for the future.
Nothing can be more detrimental to a young athlete than a serious injury. A factor that most specialized athletes do not take into consideration is overuse of a single muscle group. It is said that playing multiple sports increases risk of injury, but it’s the opposite. By focusing on one sport, certain muscle groups used become very prone to injury. Playing different sports that focus on separate muscle groups will strengthen certain muscles while giving others time to heal.
It is easy to become stationary after a physically demanding season. South Salem Varsity quarterback and pitcher Elijah Enomoto-Haole believes there are benefits of playing multiple sports, “Staying in shape throughout one offseason is a lot easier while playing another sport and you get the benefits of playing that sport.” Going into a more mentally challenging sport, like baseball or golf, encourages chess-like thinking as well as keeping an athlete in prime shape for the next season. This gametime decision making is avery useful skill to have in all sports, physical or not. All sports require a different type of physicality, but having game IQ is useful in every activity. A good IQ of the game gives an athlete the edge against a more physically fit opponent, allowing them to out compete their opponent.
In addition, specialization of one sport at an early age closes many doorways for young athletes. Keeping options open for as long as possible takes pressure of the athlete while giving them time to choose the sport that they are most comfortable with and will eventually specialize in. Itis important to make sure especially young athletes do not burnout. It is easy for kids to get bored of a specific sport and become uninterested very quickly, closing that door.
The importance of specialization at a young age is far outweighed by the importance of being a multisport athlete by a great margin. Instead of closing doors, it keeps options wide open for as long as possible, is key in injury prevention, and increases game IQ, setting the athlete above their opponent.