The popular belief is that being a multi sport athlete is a good thing and it makes for a more complete athlete. I’m here to tell you there is a negative side to being a multi sport athlete. Now before you quit reading this and just assume I’m crazy, hear me out.
Being a multi sport athlete is not a bad thing especially for those kids under age 13. Where we run into problems is with high school kids. A lot of these kids are multi sport athletes and in a lot of cases they are playing at least one select sport. While this is good for there development in multi directional movement, sports intelligence, and physical activity it can be detrimental on their bodies from a resiliency stand point.
Playing sports is physically demanding and the older you get the more of a toll it takes on your body. In a perfect world the high school age athlete spends a certain amount of time doing strength & conditioning. However, in our world that has become incredibly challenging. Putting aside the naturally lazy kid who has always existed there are many kids who just aren’t afforded the time to train. Our kids today are so heavily scheduled with team practices, sport specialization training (batting practice etc), school, homework, and extracurricular activities other than sports. How do they find time to strength and condition?
This is truly an epidemic and will lead to more and more injuries both short term and long term. It is critical that we carve out time for these kids to properly train their bodies understanding that there is a difference between off season, pre season and in season training. Adding specific variables for the athlete who is always in season. Properly balancing out the training with their current physical load in the sport they are in. Factoring in sleep, stress, nutrition and schedule.
I am not for or against multi sports athletes. Neither am I for or against select sport athletes, but having been in this industry for over 20 years the thing I see the most is the teenage athlete who doesn’t take care of and develop their bodies.
It is important to understand what the training requirements are for youth athletes based on all the variables they face. Done correct in greatly enhances their athletic experience, reduces the risk for injury and improves their performance on the field.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. I am also happy to work with athletes on an individual basis to help them develop the best program for them.
Jeff Miller, Owner/Head Performance Coach