Although there are additional challenges to playing multiple sports, both the athlete and the programs benefit. TCHS boys basketball head coach Payton Croft says that from a coach’s perspective, having athletes that can play multiple sports means you have a talented athlete. Players who are being influenced by another coach’s style, philosophy and personality make for a well-rounded player.
“I believe that athletes from other winning programs who come to play basketball help out the whole team. Success breeds success,” Croft says.
Skills learned in one sport often contribute to the success in another sport. For example, Croft said that football teaches players to not be afraid of contact in basketball. Similarly, junior Taylor Gray says that volleyball helps her in basketball by improving her jumping ability.
Most people think that after finishing a season like football, players are well conditioned for basketball. However, Croft says otherwise. Players are somewhat conditioned, but in a different way. Football players are conditioned to go full speed for bursts of 10-15 seconds at a time. Basketball players must condition differently in order to last for longer periods of time on the court.
Even though multi-sport athletes may be more conditioned, breaks are needed between ending one sport and beginning another. To prevent starting a season worn out, athletes usually take a break that can last anywhere from three days to a week.
When different sports teams practice at the same time of the year, coaches must coordinate with each other. For example, Croft says he meets with football head coach Coby Lewis to see when his practices are. That way, Croft can plan his schedule accordingly. In fact, his basketball team practices the month of June, because he won’t be able to work with some of his players again until November.
Multiple sport athletes often have tough choices to make. For example, sophomore Hayden Daniel, a member of the soccer, basketball, and baseball teams at Trigg County, says his summers are packed. “One of the hardest things about playing three sports is being able to divide your time, especially in the summer. Sacrificing one practice to go to another is a hard choice to make.” Daniel says.
While it would seem that playing multiple sports would be overwhelming, players who participate in a variety of sports prevent themselves from being burned out on just one. Daniel says, “Playing so many sports makes you appreciate the beginning of the next one. I definitely never have that ‘burned out’ feeling that I would if I played just one.”
It takes a special kind of athlete to play multiple sports throughout the school year. They must commit their time and effort to each of the sports they play. Although juggling multiple sports may get overwhelming at times, it is proven to be beneficial to the student athlete. Furthermore, at a small school like Trigg County, it is certainly beneficial for the entire athletic program to share talented individuals.
Comments on Mason Shelton’s “From The Sidelines” column may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.