Port Moody Lacrosse Supports the Multi Sport Approach to Athlete Development
Despite mounting scientific evidence and professional athletes speaking out against its value, the trend of early sports specialization continues.
Early single-sport specialization is believed to be potentially damaging to the long-term physical and mental health of athletes and has not been validated as a requirement for competitive success in sport. Early youth sport specialization has been associated with increased rates of overuse injury, burnout, decreased motivation, and sports withdrawal, while multisport participation is proposed to result in better long-term performance and an increase in lifetime enjoyment of physical activity and recreational sports participation (AOSSM Early Sport Specialization Consensus Statement, 2016).
For most sports and physical activities, kids should avoid specializing early. In fact, to develop their overall athleticism and physical literacy, they should try as many different sports and activities as possible before their teen years. This is generally referred to as the “multi-sport” approach (Active for Life, 2018).
Physical Literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life (International Physical Literacy Association, May 2014).
Evidence suggests that multi-sport athletes go further than kids who specialize too early. The athlete profiles of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team and the U.S. women’s national soccer team provide two excellent recent examples of this.
There are many National Sport organizations supporting a multi-sport approach and include the Canadian Olympic Committee, Baseball Canada, Canada Basketball, Canada Soccer and Hockey Canada. Even the Canadian Lacrosse Association and US Lacrosse supports a physical literacy approach based on multi-sport development. Check out Play More Sports for additional resources and links to various National Sport Organizations coming together to support a multi-sport approach.
We at Port Moody Lacrosse also support a physical literacy approach based on multi-sport athlete development. What this means is that we understand and work with athletes playing other sports in the community. We will not have players sign waivers that lacrosse is their primary sport over all others. It means that we focus on player development over competitiveness and winning at all costs. And it means that we support players at all levels, not just players at the competitive levels.
Port Moody Lacrosse is committed to and are an integral component of the individuals physical literacy journey and support a multi-sport development approach to sport. We are open to working with various youth advocates, sport associations, coaches, players, sport governing bodies and parents to ensure healthy environments for play and competition that do not create long-term health issues yet support athletic competition at all levels.
Additional Resources and Links:
- Sport For Life
- Hockey Canada
- Canada Soccer
- AOSSM early sport specialization consensus statement
- Vancouver Sun Article: Fear, greed, broken dreams: How early sports specialization is eroding youth sports J.J. ADAMS. April 1, 2018
- CBC Article: Kids should probably play more sports, but it’s easier said than done
- Active for Life – The Arena podcast tackles the topic of multi-sport benefits