MOUNT VERNON — Sports specialization has become more common over the years. Is this good or bad?
Many think specializing in one sport will help them gain all the skills needed to become the star athlete or gain an athletic scholarship.
But that’s not the case.
Sports specialization can cause injuries and does not guarantee an athletic scholarship.
All sports have specific movements that are repeated. These repeated movements can cause some muscles to become stronger while others weaken. The overuse of muscles used for skill and the lack of strength in others can cause injuries.
For example, a baseball player can injure his shoulder because of overuse with the repetition of the throwing motion. Playing multiple sports allows athletes to work on their strength, agility and coordination. This helps athletes become better all-around athletes and reduces the risk of injury, which can help them be successful.
Focusing only on one sport does not guarantee an athlete’s success or a college scholarship.
Being a successful athlete takes more than just skill. It takes hard work, a positive attitude and the ability to be a team player. College coaches look for all of these things and more when filling out their rosters.
Coaches also want their players to continue to get better once they get to college. A player who has played multiple sports in high school will improve a lot more than someone who specialized. Research has shown most NCAA Division I athletes played multiple sports in high school.
Playing multiple sports not only makes athletes better, but also can give them a chance to get to know many different people and be a part of different teams. Specializing does not give an athlete this opportunity because they are around the same teammates all the time.
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Encourage your athletes to continue playing a variety of sports to reduce injuries, to be more successful and to meet new people.