Playing multiple sports is better for children

Playing multiple sports is better for children

Participating in multiple sports during childhood can aid long-term physical development, with those involved in a variety of sports being less prone to injury.


For children who enjoy a particular sport, it is common to specialise, focusing on that one sport all year round. Yet research suggests that playing a range of sports and trying something new is better for children.

A study published in the journal Sports Health found that “for most sports, there is no evidence that intense training and specialisation before [age 13 or 14] are necessary to achieve elite status. Risks of early sports specialisation include higher rates of injury . . . and quitting sports at a young age.”

When assessing the risk of injury to children involved in specialised training, the Loyola University Chicago study of 1,200 youth athletes found that that those who specialised were 70% - 93% more likely to be injured than multi-sport athletes.

In addition to higher risk of injury, children who concentrate solely on one sport are more likely to quit their sport and not be physically active as adults according to an Ohio State University study.

The long-term advantages are also discussed by Colin Poitras, author of research from the University of Connecticut. He writes that multi-sports participation “promotes long-term physical activity, builds confidence, and allows for better development of fundamental movement skills”. The study's primary investigator, Lindsay DiStefano explains that there is little chance of children being physically active if this physical literacy is never developed.

The profuse amount of evidence in support of children participating in multi-sports suggests that we should be encouraging children to mix up their sports, try something new. What better time to start than the school holidays; the ideal opportunity to expand sporting experiences!

Aspire recognise the importance of this varied approach, offering a Multi-Sports Academy at our school holiday Active Camps. With days spent playing basketball, volleyball, football, tennis, lacrosse, bench ball, hockey, badminton and many more your child has the opportunity to experience and practice a diverse set of sports, keeping them active, interested and excited throughout!

Our Easter Active Camps are running right now! If you would like to find out more and book your place click here to join us for an action-packed holiday!