Kids benefit from participating in as many different sports and physical activities as possible while they are learning movement and sport skills.
In fact, even children with an aptitude — and love — for a sport should not specialize in it until they are well into their teens. This will help prevent over-use injuries and reduce the risk of burnout, and practice in each sport improves ability in every other activity.
Hockey Canada recommends that players engage in other activities — such as lacrosse, soccer, and even gymnastics — to help them improve in hockey.
Getting experience in many different activities is a good way to develop physical literacy, which provides the foundation for achievement in sport, and also for success in life.
The stories from Canadian athletes who have benefited from a variety of activities is endless.
- Wayne Gretzky played baseball. So did Trevor Linden.
- In addition to hockey, Vincent Lecavalier played baseball, soccer, and golf.
- Spencer O’Brien‘s dance training helped her be a better snowboarder.
- Skeleton racer Sarah Reid danced ballet as a child.
- Curler Brad Jacobs played hockey, baseball, T-ball, gymnastics, curling, and golf. “I tried it all,” he said.
- And after surveying some of the best of Canada’s young hockey players, we found that nearly 75 percent of them played sports other than hockey until they were well into their teens.
Read more articles about the multi-sport advantage.