With the growing number of athletes coming into High School specializing in only one sport, it’s time something was said.
PLAY EVERY SPORT YOU CAN.
Your kid may be a prodigy. Your kid might just be a superstar. Although I doubt it if you live in the Sequatchie Valley and play football for any team north of the Alabama line. There are exceptions, but this column is not about the exceptions.
See, the chances of your kid getting an offer from an Division I, FBS school are very low, especially with football. And even if an athlete gets an offer to play at the next level, chances are you still might have to pay out of pocket to play in the program because as you go down chain, scholarship money dwindles.
So if you have a student that wants to get involved in sports, remember that it’s much like a stock portfolio. You have to diversify. And for those who choose to believe the “year round” sport myth, remember there are several options when it comes to what sports are offered, especially in the Sequatchie Valley.
Say an athlete plays running back for the football team, there is a sporting combination that keeps the player in shape and betters the skills and performance necessary. After football, you could play basketball to work on your footwork or wrestle to keep you both mentally and physically tough. Soccer would be a great addition to the mix as well because of its combination of conditioning and footwork.
The best plan is to figure out your best sport and play it in-season as well as in the summer if possible. In essence, you practice football in the summer if you chose it or play AAU basketball in the late spring if that’s your key activity. Most sports have some kind of non-school league in the early summer months, including basketball, baseball, softball, and wrestling.
Maybe you don’t care about your kid going to the next level. We understand, but being a multi-sport athlete has other benefits as well.
Some sports don’t get the love that football or basketball get. Wrestling, soccer, and volleyball often go unnoticed in most schools’ athletic programs, and those coaches can often use all the help they can get. So, if you can sign up for another sport, it can help out the entire athletic program and teams that often struggle year to year. And there again, volleyball is a great warm up for girls’ basketball while wrestling could be considered a great early offseason workout for football. It’s really a win-win either way you go.
And the final nail in the coffin is the fact that working with multiple teams prepares athletes for the real world. Even if an athlete is superb in a single sport, it doesn’t hurt to play on a team where he or she will be more of a role player instead of an all-around star. Developing an ego that can work with multiple positions can help a player in the long run where he or she might have to take a lesser position to better an organization or work place.
That’s the main point of sports isn’t it? To better students and prepare them for the real world by instilling work ethic and team-oriented success. If you ask me, I’ll gladly tell you that sports is more than a distraction.
And who knows, your kid might be better at another sport. Who knew?