There has been a huge shift in recent years for high school athletes to focus on one sport for a variety of reasons. Many high school athletes feel pressure that they have to play one sport all year round in order to play at the next level. That is not entirely true for every athlete. While that approach may work for some, it should not deter others that have fallen in love with multiple sports to continue that pursuit.
In fact, many college coaches actually look to recruit multi-sport athletes more than those who specialize. Student athletes who excel at more than one sport tend to have a high level of athleticism, a steep learning curve and are less likely to burnout because of the variety of competition and practices. Having played two sports at the Division III collegiate level, I still often get asked these questions: How did you manage that? Which sport did you like more? Were you even able to have fun in college?
The answer is – I would never trade my experiences for anything! Being a dual-sport athlete preps you beyond belief for dealing with the real world.
Learn different management techniques
You are learning from two different coaches who will have two different coaching styles. Having the experience to play under these differences allows you to ultimately understand yourself better. It allows you to compare and contrast what you do and don’t respond to well. Developing this internally will undoubtedly set you up for success in your career. Being able to articulate your skills and leadership style is the most effective key to your development.
Master the art of time management
Dual-sport student athletes spend the majority of their school year in season. Managing practice daily, travel schedules, extra film sessions and athletic training treatments all on top of rigorous academics is by no means an easy task. Dual-sport athletes are forced to prioritize their study schedules and make sacrifices that others do not have to make. That said, those who successfully master their scheduled time also appreciate their free time more. This skill translates directly to your ability to manage your work life balance in the real world. The work-hard, play-hard mentality translates to being productive and efficient with your future employment. You are able to manage your responsibilities to others while understanding the importance of time for yourself.
Cultivate relationships with twice as many teammates
This is the part that makes being a dual-sport athlete most special to me. I was lucky to have had multiple teammates who were also playing two sports along with me, so we certainly connected at a deeper level. We all knew what each other was going through, and we were each others’ support network both on and off the field. Not only do these bonds continue to grow far beyond your playing years, but they transfer to the workplace as well. You are more apt to develop a sense of selflessness, teamwork and community amongst your coworkers because of your athletic experiences. You also develop a network of college teammates, twice as large, which always helps to connect you to future job opportunities as well.
Rather than participating in an “off season”, dual-sport athletes must always prepare for the next big competition. They must be primed for practices as well as games, and the genuine game day experience is unparalleled. Both practices and games will prepare you for life and the real world. The ability to practice hard and consistently perform well in the workplace is something that managers love and look for in a high-performing employee. These skills are developed at a high level by being a dual-sport athlete.
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