Many kids have a favorite sport and a superstar they like to emulate when they practice.
This is normal and healthy because it can create aspirations which often drive goals and dreams to their fullest later in life.
New research on sports injuries occurring in youth sports is showing that choosing a single sport too early is having a detrimental effect that is causing repetitive wear & tear injuries that would not typically be seen until much later in life.
Children’s bones and tendons have not fully developed yet, so the trend of a year-round training and competition regiment is showing new signs that severe injuries are occurring prematurely. These types of injuries were not previously seen before the tendencies for early specialization began.
We are talking early onset of osteoarthritis and joint reconstruction.
The kids are basically wearing out their joints prematurely before their bodies are developed enough to withstand the rigor of continuous training using a single muscle group or set of joints such as knees, ankles, hips, and elbows. Pressures and intensities all vary by sport, so the types of early injuries depend on the physical focal points required for the particular sport.
Growing with better fitness and well-rounded skills is extremely important to prevent early injuries and wear on the body. Playing several different sports throughout the year serves to provide somewhat of a break for the body and mind. This helps reduce the chances of physical and mental overload. They can approach the next season fresh in mind, body, and spirit.
Different sports use different muscle groups, and they vary in nature of repetitive motion. The seasonal approach to youth sports helps improve overall skill and conditioning by training muscle groups that are not usually the primary focus in another sport.
This can improve overall dexterity and fitness for the child’s favorite sport.
For example, a quarterback in youth football may benefit from practicing pitching a baseball where even more accuracy is required. A basketball player may benefit from playing soccer by developing quickness gained from frequent short bursts of speed while running down the ball.
The intensity of effort is different for each sport. The wear and tear are not the same so each activity can serve to compliment the other. The seasonal sports changeup can help them excel in several areas they would not otherwise achieve if they did not have well-rounded training and conditioning.
An important goal for youth sports is to keep it fun, safe and healthy. Not every child will grow up to become a professional athlete, but participation in youth sports will help them stay fit and might even help them later if they excel in a particular sport. Then they can safely specialize when their bodies have matured enough to do so.
Remember to think safety first before beginning a new sport or training regiment. It is always recommended to consult a physician and have a physical before starting a new sports season.