There is no easy answer to the question, “are multi-sport athletes better than single sport athletes?” Since there are many different opinions out there on the issue and every athlete is different; the simple answer is – it depends.
Today, many professional athletes and coaches are speaking out about sports specialization.
Football legends like Dabo Swinney and Urban Meyer have discussed why their recruiting boards include multi-sport athletes. Meyer’s recruiting philosophy is to find naturally talented athletes, and he doesn’t want athletes who specialize in football. Houston Texans defensive end, J.J. Watt, has also addressed the sports specialization debacle. He frequently speaks out explaining kids will be better athletes for playing multiple sports. Swinney believes that the experiences gained from being on various sports teams are essential for quality athletes.
“I just think that the cross-training, the different types of coaching, the different types of locker rooms, the different environments that you practice in, the different challenges — I think it develops a much more competitive, well-rounded type person,” Swinney said.
Every athlete is different, and there are some real risks and rewards for specializing too early. The same goes for playing too many sports. Some athletes benefit from playing multiple sports in a year while other athletes need a break between seasons.
Playing sports provides kids with a lot of positive benefits: leadership skills, discipline, character, the benefits are endless. However, sometimes if athletes push themselves too hard, sports can become a negative part of their lives.
People think that athletes need to put all of their eggs into one basket to ensure their chances of being good at one particular sport. But that isn’t always the best plan of action.
Look at this statistic: 30 out of the 32 first round picks in the 2017 NFL draft were multi-sport athletes in high school. There are clear benefits of playing multiple sports in high school. Since apparently some of the most talented professional athletes competed in other sports in their off seasons.
There’s no right or wrong way of being an athlete, everyone’s situation is different. These are just some things to think about when deciding what athletic path to take. Neither path is better than the other. It all just depends on what an athlete wants to do. Do they want to spend all of their time focusing on one sport or split up their time between multiple sports? However, earlier we stated that college coaches tend to recruit or want multiple sport athletes. So, if you want to be a college athlete or you want your son or daughter to play in college then maybe it’s a good thing to think about, especially before an athlete starts the recruiting process.