The sports culture in our country is constantly changing. Over thirty years ago, opportunities for girls to be a competitive athlete were much more limited. Now, celebrating Title IX’s 44th anniversary, not only are there more opportunities for girls and boys to play sports, but the trend is that athletes are now specializing in one specific sport and at a very young age.
Research and studies have shown that a multi-sport approach versus a single-sport specialization before the age of 12 years old will lead to less burnout, less social isolation, and more lifelong enjoyment in sports among other things. As an athlete approaches her teen years and begins to express an interest in one sport over another, then it can be a good time to have a conversation as a family about sport specialization.
But what other sports are there besides the common ones we all know about? Here is a list of some non-traditional sports that are in colleges you may not have known existed and links to discover more about them:
- Squash – CollegeCurlingUSA.org
- Bowling – NCAA.com/sports/bowling
- Bass Fishing – CollegiateBassChampionship.com or Bassmaster.com/college
- Fencing – NCAA.com/sports/fencing
- Equestrian – CollegiateEquestrian.com
- Curling – CollegeCurlingUSA.org
- Quidditch – yes, this is really happening in some schools now! USQuidditch.org
No matter what the sport an athlete is competing in, the most important aspect is having fun – whether you’re 2 or 92 years old! Discovering new and fun sports is a great way to not only enjoy them but to actually enhance your skills in a sport that an athlete may eventually specialize in when she reaches junior high or high school.