Should Your Kids Specialize in One Sport?
It’s exciting to watch your kid become an athletic star. But before you commit your
child to intense training in his or her best sport, try putting multiple sports into
Sports specialization means your child trains for more than eight months per year
in a single sport. Doing this before the teen years comes with a greater risk for
burnout and injury.
A lack of variety early on may hinder your child’s development of neuromuscular skills
that help prevent injury. Specializing in one sport also means your child will be
using the same body parts over and over again, without needed rest.
Encourage your young child to explore multiple sports while he or she is still growing
physically, mentally, and socially. Doing so will make it more likely that your child
will be successful in one sport later on, because the early variety will have taught
many fundamental physical movement skills that can transfer nicely into one specialized
At age 15 or 16, your child has the best chance to excel in a specialized sport. Long-term
practice in one sport at this age helps create a positive framework for mastering
movement skills, such as agility, balance, coordination, and speed. Plus, your teen
athlete can better understand the benefits of intense focus on only one sport. He
or she also has a stronger ability, at this age, to make independent decisions about
investing in one sport. And sports specialization may allow for faster skill development
to help gain a competitive edge before college.
Be Safe at Any Sport
No matter how many sports your child plays, keep these safety tips in mind:
Make sure your child has a diet that meets his or her training needs. It should include
the right amount of calories and nutrients, including iron, calcium, and vitamin D.
Give your child at least three months off from a specialized sport every year, in
increments of one month, to allow for physical and mental recovery.
Ensure that your child has at least one to two days off per week from any given sport.
This reduces the chance for injury.
Get More Safety Tips
Find sports safety and injury prevention tips here.