“Cross-training” involves engaging in two or more sports. Cross-training provides fitness, variety, academic, and psychosocial benefits and prevents injury to young athletes. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids cross-train on a regular basis. Cross-training that includes martial arts is especially beneficial because martial arts is also a total body-and-mind exercise.The ABCs of Cross TrainingCross-training ABCs is an excellent way to improve conditioning for young athletes, advocates Mark Verstegen, performance coach to Major League ball players.A = agility, B = balance, C = coordination, S = speed.The ABCs are vital skills to become a good athlete and develop a variety of other skills, muscle groups and game senses.Good Academic GradesThe American College of Sports Medicine reveals the link between physical activity in children and academic performance: active children perform better in school, are better able to concentrate, possess stronger self-esteem and self-belief, have improved motor skills, cooperation, and teamwork.Conditioning and Injury PreventionCross-training martial arts with other sports such as football, soccer, baseball, or lacrosse, provides physical and mental conditioning, strength-training, and flexibility. Year-round fitness is important for kids to get into shape so they have more fun and become a more successful player.Conditioning and rest are important keys to preventing injuries. The body gets imbalanced if your child only plays one sport without any other conditioning sports. Insufficient rest after an injury results in overuse injuries to muscles and bones. About half the injuries in middle and high school students are overuse injuries.Psychosocial BenefitsAthletes who are also martial artists may experience diverse psychosocial traits such as goal setting, encouraging good moral and ethical development, personal growth, initiative, self-discipline, being more focused on school and an ability to work with others.Competitive sports and Martial Arts go hand in hand to teach commitment to a team and to oneself. Kovar's students learn teamwork, cooperation, and respect which translate to great teamwork on the field. Martial arts training has a long tradition of honor and self-discipline that helps students develop a never-give-up attitude that is valued by teammates and coaches. The mechanics of kicking that are taught are especially beneficial to soccer players. Practicing sweep kicks will make a better passer and roundhouse kicks a better goal scorer. And a good knee-up round-house can help young players learn to “Bend it like a Black Belt.”Martial Arts promotes agility, balance, coordination, and speed. It’s an excellent way to improve conditioning for young athletes, developing muscle groups and game precision. Training at Kovar’s gives kids a competitive edge on the field.