Washington: Dear parents, you may ask your kids to participate in multiple sports, as sport specialisation is associated with significantly worse mood, stress, fatigue, soreness and sleep quality, especially females, suggests a study.
The study found no differences between the 19 specialised 30 and non-specialized athletes with respect to age, years of experience, or in-season training load.
Lead study author Drew Watson from the University of Wisconsin's school of medicine and public health said that they found that the athletes, who participate in only soccer reported worse ratings of sleep quality and all four measures of subjective well-being than those who also participate in other sports throughout the year.
For the study, conducted in Wisconsin, 49 female youth soccer players between ages of 13 and 18 underwent pre-season evaluation to determine soccer experience and previous sports participation. During the four-month soccer season, the study participants reported daily training load using perceived exertion.
They also recorded how many hours of sleep they got each night and rated several factors related to their perceived well-being every day. The players were considered specialised if they participated in soccer exclusively and had previously quit other sports.
However, despite getting roughly the same amount of sleep - with both groups getting just over 8 hours a night - non-specialised athletes were found to report better sleep quality, mood, stress levels, fatigue and soreness than specialised athletes. The research appeared at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2017 - National Conference and Exhibition at Chicago's McCormick Place West conference center.