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Should young baseball players specialize or play multiple sports?

I know some of you have strong opinions on this issue. 

In your opinion, what are the reasons to specialize vs not, and what is going to give a young player the best odds of making it all the way to the major leagues?

I am not an expert in over-use injuries at a young age, or the psychology of burn out.  If you know of good studies that have been done in these areas, I'd love to hear about them. 

I do think there is another aspect of this which doesn't get talked about much, and that is the development of overall athleticism and how playing only baseball may deprive a youngster of important opportunities to become more athletic and confident in his abilities.  (Click here if you want to read my blog post on the issue of athleti...)

I guess the bottom line is at WHAT AGE should baseball players specialize?   (and do you think it happening too early too often these days? ) 

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Doug-  Great topic and it's a topic that has been discussed quite a bit on CheckSwing lately:

Thanks Bill.  I did a search before I posted, but i guess I missed those.  Thanks

No problem!  We love hearing from you. 

Doug after 14 years of coaching high school baseball and football I lean towards not specializing until they become sophomores in high school.
I can't begin to tell you how many studs quit the game bc "they are burned out."
Most of my really athletic and mentally tough kids played many sports all year long and they looked forward to the next season....they kept the drive! I've just seen too many kids play the one sport thing year round and eventually loose interest and its sad. Keep it fun and mix it up there so much to learn from each sports and it makes your kid an all around athlete.

Coach you are right on.  Honing skills is no good if the mental drive gets burnt.  Baseball is such a mental game, and it only becomes more so as the kids move up into college and then pro ball.


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