How Many Sports Should a Teenager Be Playing? Here’s the Truth

Instead of asking how many sports a teenager should be playing, a better question would be how much. Sports encourage mental and physical health in children and adults. There is conflicting information all over the internet, and it may be hard to decide. Some say it is a good thing for a kid to play multiple sports, but some say it isn’t. So, what is the truth?

Some teenagers can play 2+ sports simultaneously, while others prefer to play one sport at a time. Passionate, healthy athletes may play multiple sports per year. Every child is unique and different. If a healthy child is passionate about multiple sports, let them play multiple sports at once.

As always, we advise seeking a professional opinion before any action. Ask the child’s doctor and coach what they think. If we get the experts’ approval, we can let our kids play several sports!

An image of Teenage kids exercising during sport at the school gym.

How Many Sports Should a Teenager Play At Once?

Playing a single sport for the entire year may cause mental and physical burnout in children – it is real and serious. Kids usually feel fatigued and bored, do not follow instructions, and are unmotivated. Playing multiple sports engages them in different and exciting experiences.

Regarding the exact number of sports, professionals advise that the more, the better. This doesn’t mean they all have to be played simultaneously, but they can be spread throughout the year or across seasons. But teens should have ample opportunity to try different sports and find activities they enjoy doing.

Usually, children are encouraged to choose only one sport. It turns out this isn’t as healthy as we thought it was. There is medical evidence that tells us playing multiple sports has benefits for a child’s health.

Playing multiple sports lowers the risk of injuries, develops various skills, and reduces mental and physical burnout.

Injuries are quite common when playing one sport. Repetitive movements and working with the same muscles all the time lead to injury. Children who participate in multiple sports use different muscle groups and movements to get well-adjusted workouts for the whole body.

How many sports should you play in high school?

Playing on one team per season is recommended. To choose a sport, consider the season when the sport is played. Unfortunately, most schools do not allow students to play two sports at once if the sports are played in the same season.

Check with the high school principal if your child is interested in two sports.

Playing sports in high school is an integral part of the school curriculum. There are many high school sports in the USA, but not all are accessible in every state.

For example, snowboarding and skiing aren’t offered in Florida for obvious reasons. Sometimes there isn’t enough interest in the sport, so it isn’t included in the high school curriculum.

There are also exceptions to the “one sport per season” rule. When I was in high school, I got permission (from both my doctor and the school) to participate in the fall season swim team and the golf team.

This exception was mainly granted due to the fact that the swim team practiced before school and the golf team after school. I also had to plan, with both coaches, which matches I’d attend in case of a scheduling conflict (as swim meets were after school).

Looking back, it required a lot of scheduling, maturity, parental support, and even more planning. I admit to having been an odd teenager who managed it well, but it’s not something every teen could (or should) do.

How many sports can an average person play?

An average person can play as many sports as they want. Nothing can stop them from playing three or four sports if they are healthy. Everyone is different. Some people enjoy playing one sport, while others enjoy being generalists in sports and try every sport they can.

Keep in mind, though, that you don’t want to overextend yourself (or your teen). They shouldn’t be playing so frequently that an injury (especially a stress injury) is a real risk.

An image of Basketball Practice Training Mentoring Playing Concept.

How Many Sports Are Too Many at Once?

How many sports a child can play depends on their health, free time, and passion for specific sports. Children who play multiple sports have a good chance of being engaged in fitness later in life than children who only play only one sport.

The professionals advise a beneficial mix of sports for a child’s health. How does this work?

For example, during the summer, a child can play baseball, during the winter, soccer, and in the springtime track. That’s three different sports. All these sports will refine your child as a multi-skilled athlete.

Some kids are perfectly fine with playing a couple of sports at once. If a child wants to play basketball and soccer simultaneously, is healthy, and has time, then why not? There are kids with a lot of energy and curiosity, so let them play sports if they wish.

Of course, if a child tries multiple sports simultaneously and doesn’t like them, that is fine too. It is important that the child doesn’t feel pressured to do something they don’t want to.

How Many Sports Should Someone Play by Age?

Whether a child is in pre-school, school, or a teenager, they can play multiple sports if they are healthy and are interested in playing multiple sports.

Kids who try playing many different sports develop better athleticism and physical literacy. Regarding kids, our focus must be on their happiness and recreation. The more different experiences they have, the more they will be engaged in sports when they grow up.

It is important to let our kids play the sport they want, not what we want.

Pre-school kids (~ up to 6)

The physical abilities of preschool kids are limited, but that doesn’t mean they can’t play certain sports. They probably won’t understand all the rules, but that is unimportant. What matters is they have fun and develop social and physical skills.

They can play basketball, soccer, baseball, or any other team sport but with a few watered-down rules. If your kid enjoys playing baseball and soccer, let them play both.

School-aged kids (6 to 12)

School-aged kids can play multiple sports. As we said before, if the kid likes playing more than one sport, has the time, and is healthy, there is no reason why they can’t play.

One or even two sports at a time aren’t problematic as long as the child isn’t feeling overscheduled with school and other obligations.

Teenagers (13+)

For a teenager, it is beneficial to play multiple sports. Playing only one sport can be overwhelming sometimes. It’s good to take a break from one sport by playing another. Especially in the teenage years, developing essential movement skills is vital for good mobility.

The best way to develop these skills is to play different sports. With different sports, they practice different ranges of movement patterns which is beneficial for their health.

Teenagers also go through puberty. Participating in multiple sports will help them go through that period easier. They will develop better social skills and self-confidence.

What are our kids doing right now?

Our kids aren’t teens yet (though we’ve got one pre-teen), and our family rule is that each kid needs to be active in one sport (or active activity, so they’re learning to love being healthy and active) at a time.

As of writing this article, here’s how we’re keeping our kids active by age.

  • Our 5-year-old girl is doing a weekly kung-fu class, plus she’s in a musical at school (there’s an unbelievable amount of dancing involved in the musical, so it’s active!)
  • Our 7-year-old boy is doing a weekly rock climbing class and is in the same musical performance as his sister.
  • Our 9-year-old boy is doing a weekly rock climbing class (with his brother) and is working backstage at the musical, moving all the props around.
  • Our 11-year-old boy did a tennis camp (now finished) for the fall school semester and is doing backstage work at the musical. He’s also been researching a pickleball league for kids his age that he’s hoping to sign up for here when it opens.
  • All the kids spend as much time out in the snow (shoveling, sledding, and playing) as they can.
An image of Two active teenage girls in white sportswear standing on a tennis field at the stadium.

What Sports Should All Teenagers Play?

All teenagers should play sports with muscle and bone strengthening and aerobic exercises. And do not forget that they should enjoy the sport they play.

There are over hundreds of sports to choose from; tennis, running, swimming, baseball, basketball, soccer, football, and many more. All these sports develop good physical activity and mental health.

Also, consider the lifestyle the teenager has. Perhaps they have zero interest in sports or are clueless about what sport to choose. This is where parents can help. Be an example to your child and lead an active lifestyle as parents.

Make the physical activity an important part of the family’s routine, take the kids to different sports events, go outdoors often where they can engage in activities with their peers, and so on.

There are several popular sports among teenagers, such as football, soccer, and basketball.

Suppose the child prefers to play multiple sports at the same time. In that case, you can try some popular combinations, like basketball and soccer, volleyball and soccer, volleyball and basketball, and baseball and basketball.

Once in high school, a teenager must usually choose a particular sport. This can be a hard decision for them. It is a hard decision if they are interested in too many sports, and it’s a hard decision if they aren’t interested in any sport.

The best way to do this is to try as many sports as possible and make a final decision. Sometimes, the school doesn’t have the sport your kid is interested in. But they can always play the sport outside of school.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

Playing multiple sports will make our kids more healthy. It’s less likely they will develop so-called overuse injuries and physical and mental burnout. And most likely, they will have more fun.

Not every kid is the same. Some kids prefer to specialize in one sport, which is perfectly fine. Other kids prefer to try multiple sports simultaneously and usually stick to two or three.

Exposing kids to different sports will enhance their performance because they expose themselves to other learning methods and exercise styles.

Did you know that many elite athletes played more than one sport at once? Multi-sport athletes have a better chance to perform at the highest level because they develop a higher sports IQ. They also have a better understanding of how teamwork and competition work.

Above all, listen to your kids. If everything is fine healthwise, let them play multiple sports and choose by themselves what sports they want to try and play. There is no one-size-fits-all; we are all different.

If a child decides to play more than one sport, consult with a professional, a doctor, and a coach first. They will tell us how to do this. The most important thing is the health and overall well-being of each child.

Let’s not forget that most children play sports because they enjoy it and are spending time with their friends.


Learning from your own experiences is important, but learning from others is also smart. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as a family of sports nuts wannabes.

  • Englund, C. (2019, June 6). Ask Dr. Pepin: How Many Sports Should My Child Play? Summit Orthopedics.
  • How many sports should a teenager play? (n.d.). Quora. Retrieved October 26, 2022, from
  • i9 Sports. (2022, August 31). Should Your Child Play One Sport or Multiple Sports? – i9 Sports. I9 Sports®.
  • Kautz, J. (2022, September 23). To raise a better athlete, don’t specialize. Sanford Health News.
  • Player Development Project. (2021, March 30). The Benefits of Playing Multiple Sports.
  • Rainforest Learning Centre. (2019, November 1). Preschool sports ideas to play in early childhood, and their benefits.
  • The Sports Institute | Play More than One Sport to Be a Better, Healthier Athlete. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2022, from

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