North Coast Bulldogs player Hayden Ensbey during an under-18 clash between the Grafton Ghosts and Woolgoolga Seahorses at Frank McGuren Field in 2019. Ensbey is one of many talented juniors playing representative sport across multiple codes.
North Coast Bulldogs player Hayden Ensbey during an under-18 clash between the Grafton Ghosts and Woolgoolga Seahorses at Frank McGuren Field in 2019. Ensbey is one of many talented juniors playing representative sport across multiple codes.

BEHIND THE DESK: How much sport is too much?

AUSTRALIA, the land of opportunity.

Home to one of the most diverse sporting landscapes in the world, we can all pick up just about any code if it tickles out fancy. But is there too much on offer?

Kids are spoiled for choice, and can often take up multiple codes - if their parents can handle it - and in regional areas can often be offered the opportunity to play at representative level in a number of sports.

On the North Coast there are so many talented kids playing representative cricket, rugby league, Aussie rules and more, but are they being overworked?

Sure, they do it because they love it, but how many kids burn out before they can realise their true potential in any one sport? My guess is a lot.

On the other hand, some of the best athletes in history have grown up playing multiple sports.

Michael Jordan played baseball and basketball, Don Bradman was a top squash player and Ellyse Perry has played professionally for Australia in cricket and soccer, so it’s clearly not a deal breaker.

Australian Team ICC Twenty20 World Cup Celebration Event Ð Federation Square AustraliaÕs cricketers celebrate their T20 World Cup triumph with fans at MelbourneÕs Federation Square today. Ellyse Perry. Picture: Tim Carrafa
Australian Team ICC Twenty20 World Cup Celebration Event Ð Federation Square AustraliaÕs cricketers celebrate their T20 World Cup triumph with fans at MelbourneÕs Federation Square today. Ellyse Perry. Picture: Tim Carrafa

What it can do is teach kids a wider range of skills that can come in handy when compared to another who has only trained in one discipline their whole life.

There is weight to both sides of the argument. At times I feel perhaps we have too much to offer and that dilutes the talent going into elite competitions, but at the same time it is incredible to have such a range of sport to choose from.

I think the key is to make sure these kids are doing what they want to be doing and not spreading themselves too thin. We want these kids to be stars, but their mental health is paramount in making it to the biggest stage and succeeding.