Single Sport and Multi Sport Athletes

Single Sport and Multi Sport Athletes
Posted on 12/07/2018
Multiple Sports?Specialize early!

No, don’t specialize early. Play a variety of sports!

No, you have to focus on one sport in order to get recruited!


The differing viewpoints fly back and forth nowadays. So what is the right choice? It is not new information that many professional and college coaches are looking to recruit more multisport athletes. That being said, the pros and cons of both choices should be taken into consideration for each athlete and their personal career goals.

According to an article in Coach Up Nation, college coaches look to recruit athletes that are multisport athletes because of three main focuses. Athletes that excel in more than one sport have a high level of athleticism, can adapt to a steep learning curve and are less likely to experience burnout. However, while the coaches are looking for strong, committed and coachable athletes, the athletes themselves will benefit from the health, learning, and time management skills developed both in athletic and personal lives.

Athletes that participate in multiple sports learn better management skills in a few areas. Having a minimum of two coaches for two different sports will teach them how to manage the personality differences and coaching styles between the two. In addition to managing the relationships with the coaches, athletes learn strong time management skills. Juggling practices, school work, a social life, and a possible job can be overwhelming. Multisport athletes will be much more comfortable handling all of those time commitments because their schedules force them to prioritize.

For every positive, there is the potential for a negative side. The negatives in being a multisport athlete may include having to choose one sport to continue on within college and/or a potential increased rate of injury, which is often the biggest negative. If an athlete has made the decision to continue with a sport in college, an injury could jeopardize chances for scholarships or the continuation in any sport career.

Meanwhile, for those athletes that focus solely on one sport, they benefit in other areas, but may also suffer from different consequences. Strong benefits of having a single sport to focus on include the time and focus to perfect the needed skills and the confidence and comfort in that sport to perform well. However, due to the singular focus, there is a much higher risk of burnout, as well as, sustaining an overuse injury.

There is no right or wrong way for an athlete to compete. However, making sure to understand the pros and cons of any choice will only benefit all involved. If an athlete is looking into college sports, speak with a recruiter to see what they are looking for in their incoming athletes. The dream of playing college sports is not for everyone. Have family conversations about what sport your athlete enjoys the most and where they see themselves having the most enjoyment and personal success.
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