Michael Jordan did it, can you?

Joel Worman, Sports Writer

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In modern sports, there is the debate: is playing multiple sports at the same time a good idea? There is no common consensus among sports coaches. A lot of coaches promote specialization, while other coaches encourage participating in multiple sports. Many famous athletes have played multiple sports in the past and been successful.

Michael Jordan, arguably the best basketball player ever, also played Minor League Baseball.  Jackie Robinson, the first African-American in the MLB, was also a top athlete in his college for baseball, basketball, track and field and tennis. Playing multiple sports did not stop these famous athletes from becoming successful. However, many coaches pressure their athletes to specialize from as young as age 6! Parents have different views on the topic as well. Many parents can be intense and push their kids to do well and specialize. Other parents are supportive and help their kids to stay active in multiple sports. Kids should be able to make their own decisions when choosing what sports to play.

There are many benefits to playing multiple sports. The most major one that studies have been done on is that multi-sport athletes have less injuries from overuse. Different sports work the muscles differently, and playing multiple sports makes for better overall muscle strength. This contributes to better overall athleticism. Playing too much of one sport can make it no longer fun. Isn’t the whole point of sports to have fun? If you think that early specialization will make you better at the sport, think again. Research shows that early specialization is actually detrimental to becoming successful as an athlete later in life. Even Steve Nash had not played basketball until he was 13 years old!

Another advantage of playing more than one sport is that their are options. If you don’t make the team for one sport, you can still play on a team for other sports. Keeping your options open, especially as a teenager, is important. These not well known benefits are a reason to keep playing multiple sports as long as you can. If you think it isn’t possible to play multiple sports successfully, look to Deion Sanders. He scored a touchdown in the NFL and hit a home run in the MLB during the same week!

Just remember, there are a ton of benefits to playing multiple sports a young age and even as you get older.

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