By Charlie Crowley
One day, years from now, or tomorrow – I won’t judge – you’re going to have a kid. This kid will grow up on a steady diet of Mountain Dew, Sour Patch Kids, loud music, and/or an Xbox. However, to save you and your spouse’s sanity, you may throw this kid into a sport or two. Your child may get good at a sport, or they may eat the grass that the field has to offer. Then you’ll have this great idea that they should focus on one sport when they’re only seven years of age, because of all the potential they hold and the chance of a college scholarship, a pro career, and a nice retirement for you.
You are wrong.
Parents and their kids across the nation are making the decision to put their focus on a single sport at a young age. You may think there is nothing wrong with that – they could be talented at it or really love the game. However, the decision can prove costly and can deter their all around development.
You may say “My kids needs full dedication to his sport!” Well, let’s look at a few names: Lebron James, Russell Wilson, Jeff Samardzija, Anders Lee. All four played multiple sports in high school. James was all state in football his sophomore year of high school. Wilson was drafted in both the NFL and MLB. Samardzija played BIG 10 football and baseball at the University of Notre Dame. Lee was Minnesota’s Gatorade Football Player of the Year in 2008, and now plays in the NHL. Their playing of other sports helped develop and polish them as athletes while also allowing them to work other skills.
“My kid needs to focus on one sport and be in it every chance he gets!” This phrase is most common with parents who a) are borderline psychotic and b) whose kids get burned out. It is so common to see a kid who is a gifted athlete and gives the sport up simply because they don’t love it anymore or have the drive for it. There is no need for a kid to be in his sport 24/7. Sure, a few offseason camps can help, but keeping a kid in a high intensity environment will wear him out. Plus, putting a kid in more than one sport will help them work different muscle groups, but most importantly, it will develop a competitive drive. Kids who play different sports will see different coaches, different teammates, and find different ways to win.
I don’t want to discourage people from focusing on one sport – I started focusing on one sport my freshman year of high school. Just remember that an athlete has tools to succeed; they just need a broader spectrum to sharpen and find new tools. So if you have a kid in life, don’t spend all your time at the field, take them to a court, or a rink, or a pool. There’s less grass for them to eat there anyway.
About the Writer…
Charlie Crowley is a soon to be junior studying communication and journalism. He spends most of his time playing hockey, sleeping, eating, and on Reddit. He’s also a Hoosier, and proud of it, but can’t hit the open three to save his life.