Why high school athletes should participate in multiple sports

Larry Treece Jr

Larry Treece Jr

Alex Krombeen, Staff Writer

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In an era of kids specializing in a single sport for the remainder of their playing careers, the debate continues to grow steadily as even professional athletes have called those out who believe becoming a single sport athlete can lead you to glory. Studies and history prove that playing multiple sports as a young athlete can help develop yourself better mentally and physically, and that many of the best all-around athletes have had successes in multiple playing fields as a young athlete. I believe that young kids, all the way up to adolescent teens, should use their primary and secondary education years to play as many sports as they can, and to acquire skills and habits that these different sports can inherit into your everyday life.

By being a multi-sport athlete, you develop personal characteristics and skills that you can’t get by focusing on one main sport. Different sports help athletes develop different skill sets that can help you in other sports as well. Some sports can help you become more disciplined, some sports can help you improve skills like hand-eye coordination or footwork, and some sports can help you become a better leader and a better team-player. Athletes who specialize in a single sport are more likely to get hurt than those who choose to play multiple sports. This is true because by playing one sport, you are putting pressure on the same muscles year round, compared to using different muscles in the different sports an athlete plays. Lastly, because of playing multiple sports, individual kids know how to be great teammates and learn how to adapt to different situations and team issues by their experiences through different competitions.

Superstar athletes, well-respected coaches, and hall-of-fame players in their respective sports have used their platform to promote the idea of multi-sport athletes. Many athletes attribute their successes on the playing field back to their days as a young athlete playing multiple sports. Many successful coaches in college football, like Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, build their recruiting philosophies based on finding talented all-around athletes, and not just players who only play football. JJ Watt, one of the best defensive players in the NFL from the Houston Texans, has taken to social media to address kids around the world to advocate for young athletes to continue to play multiple sports.

Two of the best athletes many consider to be the greatest of all time, Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, were both multi-sport athletes who had prominent careers in football and baseball. Before his successful and popular career in the NBA, Lebron James was one of the best high school wide receiver’s in the state of Ohio as a junior. According to NSR.com, 30 of the 32 first round picks in the 2017 NFL Draft were all multi-sport athletes. 

As shown from the facts above, participating in multiple sports has helped develop competitors to be better mentally, physically, as well as helping these athletes become better team players. Even the best of athletes attribute their playing careers to their skills and versatility as an athlete they embodied throughout the multiple sports they competed in. It is in the best interest of high school students to seek options, keep an open mind, and explore the opportunities each sport can give to a growing teen, because a single sport can sometimes be not enough for an athlete.

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