HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Do they play just one or many? That's the question many parents have when their child is ready to play sports.
“I’ve seen it. Kids getting pushed more, too much. But it should be fun," said Lisa Battles a Physical Therapist at Aquatic Care Programs in Houston.
Fun for sure, but what’s the best approach? Should your child play one sport or more?
“My oldest son he plays football, track, basketball and I feel like all of the different sports helps you for the one sport," said Ndukwe Dike “N.D.” Kalu, a father of four and former Texans defensive end.
“I think it’s a lot easier if you’re trying to be good at one sport to focus on that," said Ben Ackerley, who had just finished up a game of tennis at Memorial Park.
“Just like life. If you just do one thing all the time, you kinda become a one trick pony," argues Blake Hall, who's a parent and former athlete.
Battles agrees that diversifying your child is the thing to do.
“If you’re pitching all the time, you need to start playing some basketball and use the other hand quite a bit," advises Battles.
Former college tennis player Laura Whitney agrees.
“I was in soccer, basketball, tennis and then in high school I decided I really wanted to excel in tennis so I gave up basketball and just solely focused on tennis," said Whitney.
Kalu knows the sports world all too well, playing football professionally for the Texans, now with three of his four children active in sports.
"Regardless of the sport, sports teach you so much about life," said Kalu.
Kalu is living proof, however, that what you love may not even be what you end up playing professionally; that is if you make it that far.
“I actually enjoyed basketball more than anything but my talent led me to the football field. That’s how I was able to pay for school," said Kalu.
It’s estimated up to 60 million youths between the ages of six and 18 participate in some form of athletics, but with this activity comes injury, especially if specializing in just one sport, so says Battles.
“And they have muscle imbalances," said Battles.
At least 50 percent of athletic injuries are related to overuse, that’s according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Aside from injury, Battles says athletes that burn out typically specialize in just one sport at too early of an age.
“The football player Rosey Grier, he used to do ballet," said Battles.
So keep it different and keep it fun.
“It’s not the parents dream, it’s the kids’ dream, just remember that," said Battles.
The recommendation of specializing in one sport may be later in high school, say around 16 or 17. The reason, according to some physical therapists, is that the body is more prepared for that sort of training.