Should my child only play one sport?

Many parents are conflicted about what’s best for their kids when it comes to sports. Should they push their kids to specialize and play one sport and try to excel in that one sport? Or should they let their kids play a variety of sports?

Amber asks:
I’ve been doing some research on multi-sport kids and came across a couple of your articles. My daughter, 10 years old, is a gymnast. She’s in the gym 8-9 hours/week, and she plays Lacrosse 2-4 hours practice/week and 1-2 games on weekends, 4-6 months/year). She also swims summer recreational league. And she absolutely loves all three of her sports. However, she dislocated and fractured her elbow in September from a back handspring that wasn’t properly spotted and now we are questioning whether it’s time to make her choose. Is gymnastics that much more injury prone than other sports? This injury caused her to miss 75% of her fall lacrosse and three months of prep for gymnastics competitive season. If you ask her, she’s ready to get back out on the floor and on the field. As her parent, I want to encourage her to do all that she wants to do but provide the safety structure that she’s not able to understand yet. I personally see the benefits the cross-conditioning gymnastics provides, but our lacrosse coach (who also happens to be her dad) is encouraging her to only do one sport at a time.

In this Ask Dr. Geier video, I share my thoughts on the many benefits of kids playing multiple sports growing up.

Also read:
Ask Dr. Geier – Injuries from sports specialization
Concerns with early single-sport specialization in 4 youth sports

Gymnast tumbling on a balance beam