Injury risk also rises dramatically from overuse. Playing one sport continually doesn't allow the body to rest those movements, putting muscles and joints at risk. One of the most common overuse injuries is Tommy John surgery among young, year-round baseball players.
Skillsets also cross sports. Many of the world's best athletes have fostered their skills while playing sports other than the one they went pro in.
Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash has some of the best vision in NBA history. Many say he saw the game of basketball multiple steps ahead like a soccer player, the game he grew up playing in Canada.
Three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson helped hone his world-class speed as a track and field athlete, while he developed his elite ball tracking ability playing baseball.
Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James was an all-state wide receiver in Ohio his first two years of high school, while Pro Bowl tight ends Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham played basketball through college.
This is also true for cardiovascular health. Being in basketball shape is different than soccer shape, which is different from football shape. Developing the different cardio zones is extremely beneficial in young athletes.
As for when to specialize—the advice is simple: Listen to your kid. By the time your child develops the fine motor skills to develop a real skillset in a particular sport they'll also have a sense of self and be able to tell you where their passions lie.
Early development is all about developing basic athletic skills. The more sports a child plays the more chances they have to develop into a well-rounded athlete.
For more tips and information, listen to the multi-sport training edition of the Train With The Best Podcast with Craig Hoffman, Buffalo Bills Pro Bowl Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander and his trainer Chris Gorres.
Craig Hoffman is a certified personal trainer and Explosive Performance Coach at OneLife Fitness in Reston, VA. He's also a radio host at CBS Radio's 106.7 The Fan in Washington, DC.
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