Focusing on one sport is hurting more than helping

Editor-in-chief%2C+Jahlea+Douglas%2C+heads+down+the+soccer+field+on+Thursday%2C+Sept.+5%2C+2019.+EMHS+Girls+soccer+defeated+Lakeland+4-2.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Scott

Editor-in-chief, Jahlea Douglas, heads down the soccer field on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. EMHS Girls soccer defeated Lakeland 4-2.

Jahlea Douglas, Editor-in-chief

It often begins at the age of five. Sometimes earlier. Parents sign their child up for soccer, t-ball, or even football, with the intention of figuring out which sport their child enjoys and which one they are good at. 

And then this is where it at all starts, parents begin to focus on one specific sport, trying to get the most training in so that their child can succeed and be the best. This act of good intentions is actually hurting athletes more than helping. 

According to the University of Virginia Health System, “Playing one sport year round may: increase the risk of overuse injuries, decrease overall athletic development, and cause burnout that results in the child giving up the sport.” 

Consistently using the same muscles over and over again eventually will cause wear and tear, breaking down an athlete’s body. But multi-sport athletes do not have this problem as much because different sports use different muscles. Furthermore, being a multi-sport athlete creates a well rounded athlete which is something that recruiters look for. 

But no matter if a child is a multi-sport athlete or a one sport athlete, the amount of time and commitment that is required of them can cause wear and tear on the body. This is why all athletes need a break.

According to American Academy of Pediatrics, “young athletes should have 1-2 days off a week, with a 3 month break during the year.”

This break allows athletes, young or old, to give their body a rest and hopefully prevent common injuries that happen due to participation in high intensity sports. This physical break is also a mental one. There is a lot of pressure that comes with being not only an athlete but the best possible version of one. Both on and off the field, in and out of the locker room, everyone is always watching, waiting for a “star” athlete to make a wrong move and that is something that can mentally take a toll on a person, especially a child. 

Participating in athletics should be fun for an athlete, and parents should receive joy and pride from watching their child have fun, even if their child isn’t the “star.” In order for athletes to enjoy sports for as long as they can, parents have to make sure that their child is not spending too much time in one sport. And most importantly, parents need to not put so much pressure on their child during athletics because the probability of them becoming a professional athlete is slim to none. 

The views in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the GENESIS staff. Email Jahlea Douglas at [email protected]