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Multi-sport competition is more beneficial to the athletic development of youth than practicing and competing in only one sport. There is a huge positive impact on a child who participates in a variety of sports activities, and a long list of physical benefits that multi-sport competition athletes gain compared to an athlete who only specializes in one sport. Therefore, it is important to provide several learning outlets to younger children during their early stages of exploring.

Developing an Athletic Foundation

To start developing an athletic foundation, children must participate in various sports to learn and explore various ways to manipulate their bodies and enhance their body awareness. Participating in multiple sports has a huge impact on a child’s athletic development due to their exposure to different physical and mental demands. Each sport provides a different level and exposure in speed, endurance, agility, coordination and flexibility.

Participating in multi-sport competition will develop more athletic movement patterns, enhance muscle structure, and prevent injury from developing a balanced muscle foundation while increasing mental awareness in mindfulness, game strategies, coping skills and motivation.

Mental Health Benefits

Children will also gain many mental benefits when participating in a variety of sports. Participating in a wide range of sport activities will stretch a child’s thinking patterns, coping and problem-solving skills. The variety of sports also provides an athlete with experiences and exposure to the difference in mental demands in individual sports compared to a team sport. The different mental demands include self-talk, visualization, coping skills, game strategies, motivation and patience.

Lifelong Sports and Fitness

Developing a multi-sport athlete will create more pathways for lifelong sports and fitness. Children who participate in multiple sports have a higher probability of playing the game due to decreasing sports burnout. Children who participate in multi-sports receive a wide range of lifelong lessons and learning experiences, and creates endless opportunities for children to learn the social and physical aspects of life.

Enrolling children in seasonal sports provides children with a routine schedule that instills living a healthy lifestyle. When children have physical activity in their daily schedule, they are more likely to continue to be active adults. Overall, children will continue to be lifelong learners by participating in a variety of sports.

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Holly Metzger-Brown

Holly Metzger-Brown, M.Ed. is the youth fitness director at the York Jewish Community Center.

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