The Myth of the Need to Specialize in High School Sports Exposed!
That’s right, 29 of the 32 1st round draft picks in the 2018 NFL draft were multi-sport athletes in high school. Fourteen (44%) were 3-sport athletes. One of the athletes was a 4-sport athlete. But, you say, that must be an anomaly. Nope. Thirty of 32 in 2017 and 28 of 31 in 2016 were multiple sport athletes in high school. These athletes ran track, played basketball, wrestled, played baseball and played La Cross. Of the three who didn’t play multiple sports, one was a nationally-ranked tennis player prior to high school. He only gave up the sport because tennis and football were both played in the fall.
If you think this phenomenon is only true in football, think again. 19 of the 20 female soccer players on the U.S. National team in 2010 played multiple sports in high school.
Joe’s Perspective: This should, once-and-for-all, debunk the insane myth that a high school athlete has to specialize in one sport. This is crazy talk, loony-bin mentality. 98% of you high school athletes will not receive an athletic scholarship to play a sport in college. So, for almost all of you, athletics is merely a way to teach competitiveness, confidence, teamwork, perseverance, desire… Athletics is also supposed to be fun. My advice is simple. If a coach tells you that you have to specialize or asks you to give up other sports, run. Play as many sports as you desire. A team sport like soccer will teach you something very different than an individual sport like wrestling. Finally, if your dream is to play in the NFL, play another sport besides football!
Your Turn: In light of this information, what will you tell a coach who asks you to specialize?