Most amateur athletes aren’t going to play in college, and even fewer play professionally. Some people will prey on the Division-I dream or many kids’ lifelong wishes to play sports professionally, which is an extension of the American dream, by upcharging summer programs in specific sports.
As you look for NFL odds during the postseason, many former players — Cardinals QB Kyler Murray (baseball), Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (basketball, baseball), Steelers OL Kendrick Green (wrestling, baseball) — multi-sports athletes. It gives aspiring athletes role models who starred in multiple sports.
Mahomes, for example, loved all three sports growing up, and basketball was at the top, his godfather LaTroy Hawkins said. Hawkins had a 21-year career as an MLB reliever and had a Division-I scholarship to play basketball.
He gave advice to Mahomes when it came time to choose his future: “Be whatever you want to be.”
Murray and NFC West rival Russell Wilson both played football and baseball collegiately and were MLB Draft picks at one point. Same for Saints QB Jameis Winston when he was in college at Florida State.
It takes a special, dedicated athlete to play multiple sports at the college level. Statistics published by the National Collegiate Athletic Association say that baseball players have a 2.2 percent chance to reach Division-I from high school and a 2.9 percent chance for football.
Why You Should consider Multi-Sports
Given the difficulty of realizing those dreams, there are valuable lessons to be learned. Multi-sport athletes learn how to work amongst different teams. They’re taught how to adapt to many different personalities. Time management skills for when sports overlap with competitions and practices, particularly if someone plays multiple sports in the summer, are immeasurable for what they’ll see later in life.
High school coaches generally favor and support athletes playing multiple sports. They’ll share practice times during the overlap periods, or the sport wrapping up its season will have sole dedication until their season ends.
One prep coach put it this way, playing multiple sports allows the athlete to become well-rounded in strength, speed, and other physical attributes.
Take Green, for example. You work different muscles in football from wrestling and even more differently in baseball. In the summer and fall, he’s building up for football, his primary sport, with specific weightlifting and exercises, but it changes over time. Regardless of the sport, he’s continuing to lift weights.
Another high school football coach said he encourages his players to play multiple sports but goes a step further and offers suggestions based on similar techniques. He wants his linemen to wrestle in the winter or skill players to run track in the spring to improve their speed.
When multi-sport athletes change seasons, they keep one transcendent key trait: competitiveness. Channeling that competitive mindset brings a spirited work ethic to become the best version of themself, translating to studies, the workforce, and relationships.
Baseball players are recommended to take time off after an unnatural throwing motion throughout the spring, summer, and even fall months. It allows them to stay active by taking up golf, football, cross country, or another sport.
It’s Sports, After all
Particular to Mahomes growing up, he was also advised to simply have fun. It’s often an overlooked component of sports with high goals and dreams to get college paid for or make a living playing sports. Having fun and choosing sports that bring happiness and joy is an underrated component, and limiting an athlete to one sport could limit their potential to be great in something else.
Bob Hayes won a pair of gold medals in track before becoming a Hall of Fame wide receiver. Bo Jackson was MVP of the MLB All-Star Game and a Pro Bowl running back before a hip injury ended his career.
Remarkably, Deion Sanders famously suited up for an MLB game and an NFL game on the same day, first with the Falcons and then in a postseason game with the Braves.
Encouraging athletes to play multiple sports is beneficial for life lessons, maximizing potential, and keeping their bodies fresh.