Try Everything

I remember watching the movie Zootopia with my kids and listening to the song by Shakiraat the end, "Try Everything." It made me think about my high school track coach encouraging me to just focus on track and abandon football and basketball. It was common knowledge that I was rapidly excelling in track, but I was athletic enough to play other sports as well.

At the conclusion of football season, I tried out for the basketball team. After an impressive showing, I was shocked to find out that I didn't make the team. I immediately went to the basketball coach and asked what I did wrong, and he replied that the track coach preferred that I didn't play basketball and risk injury for track. How could these coaches conspire to prevent me from playing a certain sport? I begged to play and was allowed on the team, but my ideas about playing sports changed drastically.

There are many coaches and athletes out there with the same mentality. They figure that if an athlete is progressing well in a sport than they should just focus on that sport alone.

This is an outrageous type of thinking that limits an athlete's potential to succeed in sports.

I personally used the aggressiveness acquired in football to make me a more physical basketball player. The speed gained from track helped me become faster in my positions on the field and on the court. My passion for defense in basketball translates to better ball skills on the field and improved strategy during my races.

Athletes with multiple skills and abilities should try as many sports as they can. Look at the examples of Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders who both played football and baseball professionally. John Elway, Russel Wilson and Colin Kaepernick played baseball as well as football. Charlie Ward, Allen Iverson and Julius Peppers played basketball and football. And there are numerous track athletes that crossover to play multiple sports. The list goes on forever of athletes that have the ability to succeed at multiple sports.

The last thing that you want to do as an athlete, parent or coach is limit the opportunities for success in any sport.

This is especially true for younger athletes that have not yet scratched the surface of their potential. Their bodies are still growing and there is plenty of time to develop their talents and skills. You will never know how well you can be perform at a sport if you don't "try everything."

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