How Many Sports Should Your Child Play this Summer?
A new trend has developed in youth sports where increasingly more kids are choosing to compete in two sports (and sometimes even three) at the same time. With school being out for a few months, the summer sports season is the time when more kids attempt juggling their schedules in order to play multiple sports. Additionally, just about every sport under the sun is available over the summer, making it relatively easy for families to sign up for multiple sports if they desire.
Many of the kids I see at my practice compete in two, and sometimes three summer sports at the same time. Baseball, soccer, golf, lacrosse, swimming, wrestling, and tennis are just a few of the sports available to kids, and even for those only competing in one sport it is not uncommon for them to still train in a second, different sport.
Should your child play a couple sports at the same time, or go the traditional route of only playing one sport at a time? Like with most decisions in life, there are pros and cons to consider:
- Provides more opportunity for kids to find their best sport by sampling multiple sports
- Allows for more friendships and interactions with greater numbers of people
- Teaches kids about the importance of life skills, including organizational skills, multi-tasking, communicating, discipline, responsibility, and time management
- Requires kids to live a structured schedule, leaving less time for doing things that might lead to trouble
- Can be very taxing, both mentally (youth sports burnout) an physically (increased risk for injury)
- Sometimes impossible to meet the demands of both sports, thereby letting teammates down
- Leaves little, if any, time for other activities, family vacations, and spending recreational time with friends
- Places additional stress on parents with respect to costs, travel, and taking additional time off work in order to meet the expectations of each team
Summer sports can be a terrific experience for kids, but there are physical and emotional risks associated that should be evaluated when deciding on how many sports to play together (if any). It is also important to think about how sport participation might interfere with other important things you value, including academic experiences, clubs and activities, and family vacations.