What’s Best For Children: Multiple Sports or Specializing in Just One?
The benefits to children playing multiple sports can quickly be forgotten and pushed aside when you flip through the news and see those rare kids that specialized early and became stars.
However, exposure to a range of sports as a child is invaluable when it comes to encouraging a life-long passion for sports. It’s that inner passion that when planted early will allow our children to grow into active, healthy and well-rounded adults.
Did you know that multi-sport athletes have greater athletic IQs and don’t burnout the way kids do when they are forced too early to pick one sport? Focusing on one sport also risks injuries and burnout, and even more importantly it can kill their love of sports forever.
In addition, recent changes made to the Physical Eduation curriculum by the Singapore Ministry of Education, requires all Secondary School students to be exposed to six sports per year.
Many of the skills involved in each sport are also transferable – the hand-eye co-ordination, body rotation, having a stable base, strength, fitness and speed – so does it really matter what sport your child plays at a young age?
One of Shaws Little League’s most popular classes is our multisport programme. The multisport programme exposes children to the following sports – volleyball, tennis, basketball, baseball, rugby, hockey, cricket, soccer, golf and athletics. In each session, children play two sports and the sports change each week.
Participating a multisport programme, like the one offered at Shaws Little League, helps prevent injuries, improves fitness, motivation and confidence. Multi-sport athletes develop into better teammates too. In a class like Shaws Little League, not only is there a focus on more than one sport, but there is an emphasis on having fun just fun for the sake of fun. Simple, plain old-fashioned fun because we all know that children love nothing more than having fun.
As the children develop and progress, the activities in each of the sports change accordingly, eg the under 3’s and under 4’s do many coach-led activities; in the under 5’s and above, we use modified team games and encourage the children to work together and develop their skills together.
The Shaws Little League multisport programme comprises a wide range of games and activities that allow children to:
- learn the individual sports skills
- develop physical confidence and co-ordinated body movements
- improve their physical fitness and wellbeing
- develop had-eye coordination, ball sense and game sense
- develop team work and social skills
- play in modified games and activities
- have a stepping stone towards ongoing participation in sport and life
- develop a competitive spirit and understand about winning and losing
- understand about fair-play, sportsmanship, and appropriate sports conduct
We base our programme on research that suggests that young children should not specialise in sport from a young age. A lot of expert sports coaches are now of the same view too and instead of getting children to specialize in a sport at the earliest age, they are now recommending multisport programmes instead. We are sure that the content of our programme meets and exceeds the fundamental movement skills guidelines as well as the basics of each of the sports that we conduct.
Aside from having lots of fun, we also plan our activities to ensure and emphasise maximum active participation for all children. What this means is that all children are given lots of opportunity to hit balls, catch, throw, kick instead of waiting for their turn as can happen in organised team sports games. The more you play, the more you learn and improve, the more fun you have. It also tires the children out too!
And if one day, your child does decide to specialize in a sport then the fitness, confidence and motivation that they learned can transfer into the skills needed to specialize.
Come try a class today with your children. We don’t think you’ll regret it.