MLB Pitcher: The Absolute Worst Thing You Can Do Is Specialize Young
Jake Odorizzi is a professional pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2012 with the Kansas City Royals. Odorizzi attended Highland High School in Highland, Illinois, where he led the Highland Bulldogs to the Illinois state championship.
Odorizzi, a three sport athlete in high school, has noticed an increasing push towards specializtion in youth sports with coaches encouraging kids to only play one sport year round. To Odorizzi, that is the "absolute worst thing" you can do for a kid in youth sports. Kids should never choose one sport at ages 8-10, as its not feasible for their body at that age and increases the possibility of burnout. When Odorizzi played three sports in high school, it gave him a nice break so that one sport never got old and it also made him a more well-rounded athlete in the sport (baseball) that he ended up choosing in the long run.
His advice to parents and coaches is to have your kids play multiple sports because playing other sports taught him more about baseball than he could have ever learned from baseball alone. Don't cripple your kids and make them choose. Allow kids to be kids and enjoy all the sports.