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Differing Opinions On Being A Multi-Sport Athlete

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One of the more common ideas held by coaches is that an athlete has to focus on a single sport to succeed. This is specially true for college athletes who want to go on to play professionally. The concept is based on the idea that proficiency in a particular skill is helped along by the number of hours put in practice. The magic number usually referred to is 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, as first expounded by Malcolm Gladwell.

However, there is a different school of thought about being focused on a sport. In particular, there are studies which have shown that an athlete can in fact be better if he practices several other sports. As an example, out of 49 athletes Ohio State signed up for their football program, only 5 of them were purely football players. The rest of the recruits also played other sports for their high school teams. Besides football, these students also wore other uniforms like track and field, soccer, baseball and basketball jerseys.

College recruiters understand that these students did not have to be multi-sport athletes to succeed, however, being so made them more adaptable college athletes. One advantage of playing multiple roles is that there is less stress on a particular set of muscles. There has been a separate study showing that NBA players are getting injured more frequently because of the stress they put on their bodies jumping on the court for more and longer hours than earlier generations of players. Even in high school there is a big emphasis on training with the of running faster, and jumping higher. The early start to intensive training puts a strain on the knees and ankles which lead to shorter careers due to injuries.

Sports medicine practitioners are of the opinion that multiple sports affords the body to recover from the constant stress to particular sets of muscles. With different sports, the muscles would be moving in different ways, giving it a chance to recuperate from the stress of repetitive movements.

This debate will definitely take longer to resolve, even as the jury is still undecided about which approach would be better in terms of performance, and chances of injuries.