Updated: Sep 4, 2022
Play On is often asked: “If I want to play in college, should I focus on one sport, or is it ok to play multiple sports?”
Like many scenarios in the college recruiting process, it often turns to personal preference and objectives. What we can say, though, is over the years we have found there are many benefits to being a multi-sport student-athlete and why they may be attractive to college coaches.
We’d like to share a few of these reasons with those who are asking the same question:
Sport Skills Transfer
All athletic movements transfer—quickness, running, jumping, agility, throwing, etc. For instance, jumping for a basketball is similar and builds the same muscles needed to push off the blocks and have a good kick in swimming.
Multi-Sport Athletes Have Higher Sport IQs
They develop a feel for any game they play. They are more creative and less mechanical in their approach. For instance, some 10-year-olds look like amazing in the batting cage, but have no idea how to run the bases. Some collegiate volleyball players have never served a ball in competition, ever!
Multi-Sport Athletes Suffer Less Burnout
How long does traveling every weekend to compete in six showcase events remain fun? Maintain your passion and fun by taking breaks and time off.
Multi-Sport Athletes Learn to Compete
Each sport is different and requires different levels of focus and resiliency. To become mentally tough, athletes need to be in various sport situations that test their resiliency and ability to come back. If they learn to compete early, it will transfer into other areas later on.
Marcelo Chierighini was SEC Swimmer of the Year at Auburn, a national champion and Olympian; he didn't start swimming until age 16.
Maverik McNealy, golfer at Stanford University, the top-ranked amateur golfer in the United States, played hockey and soccer as well as golf into his senior year in high school. The balance, stability and core strength required for hockey transferred to golf.
Future NBA Hall of Famer Steve Nash played soccer, rugby and basketball in high school.
Finally, the single-sport specialist isn't the worst culprit. It's the multi-single sport specialist in the new wave of overlapping specialized sports, where one team and league overlaps another. Where is the time to play unorganized games?
Please keep in mind: your goals and objectives will be different than other student-athletes, and all your college decisions must be carefully considered and evaluated . . . including whether you are specializing in one sport or many.
Most importantly: HAVE A PLAN! HAVE FUN!