There has been an elevation in the talent and physical ability among athletes of all ages.
Unfortunately, the spike in talented athletes has not come without a price. Kids must specialize in their sport at a very young age and forget about playing other sports as well, if they aspire to play at a high level.
The change to youth sports is very interesting because the three sport athlete is almost obsolete.
High school kids are only playing one sport because they want a scholarship and to play at the next level.
However, when kids are specialized into one sport, injuries and burnout become a lot more common. The sports world must stop specializing kids because many athletes, myself included, are a victim to this.
It was not more than 20 years ago that it was the three sport high school athletes that were able to play at the next level. Now, the three sport athlete is a thing of the past and looked down upon.
Specialization causes injury because the body is not cross trained.
The body is continuously using the same muscle groups when someone is dedicated to just one sport. In baseball, many incoming players end up with injuries because the shoulder or elbow has shut down due to over use.Injuries aside, specializing in one sport can cause burnout. Burnout is a real and detrimental issue.
After so many years of playing the same sport without rest, the body can break down as well as the mind. Your mind starts looking for other things to do and that causes and internal conflict with the competitiveness to succeed in the sport you have specialized in.
There is not much someone can do to combat burnout because it is, in theory, the body trying to tell you that it is done being put through so much stress. Athletes burnout because they have not taken a break. I believe that it is important for athletes to stay away from playing year round in order to avoid things such as burnout and injuries.
Being a victim of both injuries and some burnout, I feel that I have a unique perspective.I am a baseball coach for a summer team of freshman and sophomores in high school and I try to tell my team about the importance of playing multiple sports and staying fit in more ways than just playing baseball.
I was unlucky because my career ended due to burnout and injury. But, it brings me joy knowing that I am able to give back to the baseball community by passing on the knowledge I have gained from my experiences.
No baseball player wants to hang up his cleats and stop playing baseball, but coaching makes me realize just how important all my coaches were. Having a chance to change a young kid’s life though coaching baseball is very rewarding. I cannot think of a better way to spend my summer than to be helping the progress of young ball players and helping them develop into better human beings.