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Palm Coast Wednesday, May 2, 2018 1 year ago

The case against specialization in youth sports

91% of the NFL Draft's first round picks were multi-sport athletes in high school.
by: Ray Boone Sports Editor

Raise your hand if you have seen a kid whose entire life revolves around one sport.

For much of my life, I was this athlete. I played golf — and that was it.

I, like many athletes, was fed the idea that you have to specialize in a sport — that is, intensely train in one sport while excluding all others — in order to excel at it.

Most sports are even year-round now. Take basketball, soccer and baseball, for example. In addition to playing for school teams, kids have the option of competing on club and summer-league teams as well.

Gone are the days of kids playing pick-up in the neighborhood.

I used to think specialization was a good thing. But, not anymore.

Following the conclusion of the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday, April 26, USA Football tweeted this: Of the
32 picks in Round 1, 29 of them were multi-sport athletes in high school.

That’s 91%.

To make this even more clear, here’s a tidbit for another study released by the NCAA: 71% of Division I men’s football players were multi-sport athletes, 88% of D1 men and women who play lacrosse also play other sports, and 87% of D1 female runners and 91% of male runners were multi-sport athletes.

Playing multiple sports throughout the year can keep you conditioned. In fact, several area high school football players also play basketball just for the sake of conditioning. In addition, playing multiple sports can benefit muscles not explicitly trained in one sport alone.

I’m not saying you absolutely have to play more than one sport.

But nothing should stop you from trying if you do have that desire.

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