Point/Counterpoint: Specialization vs. Multisport

Source: USA Today

We’ve heard many high school football coaches weigh in on sports specialization over the last few months. To be honest, we haven’t heard from many who would prefer the year-round football player to an athlete who is engaged in multiple sports and competing year-round.

Sport specialization refers to athletes who dedicate themselves to playing one sport. These athletes live, breathe and sweat their sport, with strict practices throughout the year and stringent skills development.

A key factor to consider in sport specialization is the sport itself. NCAA recently collected information from 21,233 current NCAA student-athletes at Division I, II and III universities. When asked if they specialized in their sport, some interesting trends emerged. The study showed a high percentage of athletes who specialized were in gymnastics, soccer, tennis and ice hockey.

Multisport athletes participate in a range of sports and activities as they are growing up. They have the opportunity to try different things, instead of committing to one sport and practicing it throughout the year. According to the NCAA survey of college athletes, the sports with the highest percent of multisports athletes were football, lacrosse and track.

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