Many years ago a coach wrote a book that theorized that if an athlete ever hopes to be seen as an expert they must spend a minimum of 10,000 hours training and/or participating in that sport. From that theory came things like AAU, and the development of coaches preaching a specialized training approach.
The unfortunate problems with that belief has widely effected sports and has led to a number of issues i feel many ignore. The following reasons are why you should NEVER focus on just one sport:
1.) Injuries. By focusing on only one sport you are training your body in a very specific way. This makes your body conditioned for only a specific set of motions and muscle development. By doing this, you are stunting your overall abilities and are pigeonholed in your overall potential. By training one specific way you will eventually exhaust those muscles and lead to improper recovery. Your body needs variation and time to recover, otherwise it will begin to give out.
2.) General life experiences. There is so much to experience out there that limiting yourself to one sport is limiting what you can experience. Many athletes' competitive lives end when they graduate from high school. If you focus solely on one sport your chances of later regretting it are extremely high. Every sport differs in the experiences that you can have, and trying multiple sports can lead to some amazing memories.
3.) Teammates, coaches, and friendships. By trying numerous sports you are allowing yourself the opportunity to meet some great people. By doing more than one sport you will experience more positive teammate connections, you will meet some wonderful coaches, and you will forge more friendships that could shape a very important time in your life. To this day I still connect with teammates/friends I made during my high school years.
4.) Sports aren't something you should have to pay to specialize in. Programs like AAU or club teams charge athletes and their families a ridiculous amount of money to participate. Many times those families/athletes expect that by paying that much money it entitles the athlete to make their varsity team at their local high school. Unfortunately though, many times the athlete either doesn't even make the varsity team, or is delegated to 2nd string. AAU and club teams are simply a money grab, and don't necessarily worry about the overall development of their athletes as much as they do the checks rolling in.
If you hope to experience sports the way they were meant to be, don't ever just focus on one. Allow yourself to train in a way that won't lead to injuries, allow yourself to experience all that sports can offer, and allow yourself to meet other athletes and coaches that may positively impact your life.
This is a hot topic amongst many coaches and athletes! If you are ever in need of more information you are more than welcome to connect with me!