Help for parents deciding when their kids should focus on one sport

Help for parents deciding when their kids should focus on one sport

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The pressure on kids, when it comes to sports, can be pretty intense.

There’s competition to make the team, pressure to rise to the next level and stress over scoring scholarships.

“Kids are starting to specialize in just one sport as early as elementary school and sometimes before that," Chris Gabriel, a physical therapist with OrthoCarolina Wellness Center told us.

Then parents might struggle with deciding what age is the right age to specialize. When, physically, is that alright?

Gabriel tells us specializing young, and really specializing ever as kids age, isn't necessarily a good idea.

"When you are doing the same sport you go through similar movement patterns all the time. We could see overuse injuries or ACL tears. If we play different sports we minimize that risk," Gabriel said.

Families have to be intentional, however, about which sport their child plays in the off-season of the sport that is their favorite.

“If your child is the pitcher for the baseball team, it doesn't help to be the quarterback of the football team in the off-season. It is that same repetitive arm movement," Gabriel said.

Still, he realizes picking up a second sport can be a tough sell for a child who really wants to play soccer, and only soccer.

"You start the conversation differently then. Whether it is off-season training or core and balance work or ACL prevention, we can pitch that as it is all something that will make you BETTER at soccer. It is going to make you better in the season. That's an easier way to start that conversation," Gabriel said.

There are a couple of websites that might be helpful to parents in making decisions about their kids. Major League Baseball offers www.mlb.com/pitch-smart. You may also want to check www.stopsportsinjuries.org.

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