Can Our Kids Realistically Play Multiple Sports?

I have three children that play sports. My oldest daughter just entered high school and wants to play two sports. My middle daughter is softball, all day, all year. My youngest, a 9-year-old boy, plays three sports, and would probably play more if we didn’t limit him to one at a time.

What I currently hear from all the “experts” is that kids should play multiple sports. USA Baseball says it limits burnout, reduces overuse related injuries, allows them to develop better athletic, mental and life skills and helps them build confidence. Parenting Magazine, USA Today, ESPN, USA Football and countless others quote studies touting its benefits.

This all sounds great and helpful and totally legit; however, is it realistic? Coaches and parents say they agree with it and will work with you as athletes and parents. But when it comes to it, do they really?  To compete in high school sports, and even middle school sports, it is often highly recommended that kids play in leagues or club (select) sports. If a child is competing in one sport at school and out-of-school, how would they have time to do another sport, much less excel at their studies?

Some coaches and parents punish the athlete by limiting their play time when they miss a practice due to another sport or studies. Some coaches don’t like their athletes to play a certain other sport whose seasons collide. Some club organizations don’t like their athletes playing high school sports. What are parents to do when school coaches, club coaches, doctors, college coaches and professional athletes all disagree?

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