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Baseball Canada Encouraging Multi-Sport Participation For Their Athletes

On the surface, convincing athletes not to play their sport might seem counter productive for a sports organization. However, the way Andre Lachance sees it, following such a philosophy is only going to make for better athletes.

The Business and Sport Development Director for Baseball Canada, Lachance's organization was among four leading Canadian NSO's that banded together to spread the message to participants that choosing the multi-sport path will be better for them today, tomorrow and for the rest of their lives.

Hockey Canada, Canada Basketball and Canada Soccer also took part in the promotion, which featured the hashtag #changeitup. Canadian pitcher Mike Soroka of the World Series champion Atlanta Braves represented Baseball Canada in the promotional video.

"Those four sports came together and sent a strong message to the rest of the sports that if we can talk and we can share a common vision about multi sport, anyone can do it," Lachance said. "More and more sports are working in collaboration to talk about multi sport.

"Science is showing us this is the best way to approach it, not only in life long participating but in high performance."

Lachance isn't certain exactly when the shift in philosphy toward early-sport specialization took hold of youth sports. He is certain, though, that the landscape is currently trending in the opposite direction.

"It was automatic in my time that you played hockey in the winter time, you played baseball in the summer time and in between you played other sports - football, or whatever is dictated by the different seasons," Lachance said.

"The respecting the season approach has disappeared over time because of early specialization that became the way to go at some point - until we realized that it’s creating more problems than it’s creating benefits for the athletes. The tendency now, the trend is to go back to multi sports."

It isn't only sporting organizations that are seeing how playing a variety of sports is making their athletes both better performers but also more well-rounded people.

"It’s becoming more trendy, not only in North America but also in Europe and Asia," Lachance said. "You’re seeing American colleges selecting multi-sport athletes. It has become something highly-important for them.

"They’re looking for those types of athletes."

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