In the not so distance past, it seemed very common place to see athletes playing 3 or 4 different sports in a year. In today’s world however, everything seems to be so specialized and kids are becoming more focused on a single sport, all year long. While this may make sense for the athlete’s sports specific skills advancing quicker, is there something to be said about playing a variety of sports and the benefit that gives young athletes?
The answer may be found by simply looking at the percentage of multi-sport athletes who played in last week’s Super Bowl. In the biggest game of the year, which included the two most talented teams in professional football, nearly 90% of the players on those teams were multi-sport athletes in high school. I believe this speaks to the benefits that playing a variety of sports has on long term athletic success.
Overspecialization at a young age can cause burn out or decreased development of important fundamental skills that one may gain in multisport competition. If playing a sport the highest level is your ultimate goal, being a well-rounded athlete, a good teammate and a hard worker are what set average athletes apart from great athletes. So as you decide whether to continue playing that second or third sport, remember, the best athletes in every major sport most likely didn’t just play the sport they play professionally, when they were in high school.
Examples of Professional Athletes who Lettered in Multiple High School Sports
Mike Trout – Baseball and Basketball
Tom Brady – Football, Basketball and Baseball
Lebron James – Basketball and Football
Alex Morgan – Soccer, Basketball and Track
Conor McGregor – Wrestling and Soccer