It’s becoming more common in high school sports for athletes to focus on only one sport instead of playing two or more. Student-athletes (or their parents) believe they might have a better chance to win a college scholarship or even play professionally if they devote all their energy to a single sport sooner rather than later. Many sport professionals and athletes disagree, including Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers told philly.com that playing multiple sports helped him gain a competitive edge in the NFL and that it’s a shame that the value of multi-sport athletes is not more widely recognized. He said:
“I think [playing multiple sports] is going away a little bit, and it’s unfortunate. It definitely helped me, because I learned different skills in different sports, and there are competitive things that run through all the sports. I was always drawn to being in positions where I had an impact on the game: point guard in basketball, pitcher in baseball, goalie or forward in soccer. I wanted to be in those premiere positions where you’re having a direct impact on the game, and you learn a lot of skills along the way to take advantage of little nuances in the game. It helps.
“I think kids can get burned out playing AAU basketball the entire year or traveling baseball the entire year. Football, we don’t really have a ton of that, with the entire-year stuff. But I think it’s going to be important for kids to not be as one-sport-centered as we move forward. . . You want to see guys who are playing multiple sports and have that competitiveness because a well-rounded athlete, I think, is going to be better with adversity. There’s different adversity in every sport you’re playing, and the more you’re competing in different sports, the more you learn about yourself.”
Playing multiple sports not only helps athletes be more competitive, it also augments their athletic skill-set. Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks at moving in the pocket and throwing on the run, which he showed perfectly on the last pass he completed in the Packers’ playoff win over the Dallas Cowboys last weekend. Playing a sport like basketball translated to Rodgers’ footwork in the pocket and improved his ability to throw on the run.