Many high school students are shifting from being multiple-sport athletes to single-sport athletes. But are athletes making these decisions based on the right information? What are the driving factors behind the movement? Most importantly, are athletes’ best interests kept in mind?
The Right Factors to Consider
Are you playing a sport because it makes you happy, or are you playing because you are trying to receive a scholarship offer? I chose to stop playing baseball during my freshman year in high school to focus year-round on basketball. I made that decision because I liked playing baseball, but I loved playing basketball. There was absolutely no thought about how the decision would affect my recruiting. In hindsight, this was not the best decision for me. My scholarship opportunities would have been much better if I had continued to play baseball than they were as a one-sport athlete. Playing basketball year-round wore me out. Baseball would have been a much-needed change of pace.
Are you making this decision based on the right information? Figure out if you need a scholarship to attend school. Make an informed decision by researching the availability and size of athletic scholarships for your sport and how those scholarships are divided. Is your sport a head-count or equivalency sport? Knowing the difference between the two will help you understand how much scholarship money you can expect to be offered. Scholarships vary by percentage in many equivalency sports, so make sure to research what positions are in demand for both your sport and at individual universities. For example, baseball pitchers are offered more scholarship money than position players.
Learn How it Will Affect Your Academics
High school athletes sometimes forget the importance of academics; sometimes athletes think if they are great at a sport, their GPA doesn’t matter. Academics should be the top focus for all amateur student athletes. Think about this question before answering it: how does playing one sport year-round versus playing multiple sports affect your academics? Playing multiple sports does not guarantee you will have less time to do schoolwork; in fact, athletes can do better because most high school coaches monitor athletes’ grades during the season. Single-sport athletes only have coaches check their grades during one season as opposed to up to three for multiple-sport athletes. Athletes that play one sport usually do so year-round on club teams, attending camps, and playing in summer leagues which involve a lot of traveling. Multiple-sport athletes may play two or three sports, but they do not always devote the whole year to athletics. Take the time to figure out how your athletic and academic schedules fit together.