Many athletes (or their parents) think that if they specialize in one sport at a young age, their chance of getting a college scholarship or making it to the pros increases. What they might not know is that when an athlete plays more than one sport, the skills from the other sports transfer over. Athletic attributes and movements such as quickness, jumping, running and throwing are beneficial to multiple sports. Playing different sports also teaches your body to move in different ways and increases competitiveness.
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Many professional athletes agree that playing multiple sports is the best thing a high school athlete can do. If you still aren’t convinced, consider this: 94 of the 106 players in Super Bowl LI played multiple sports in high school. That means 88.7 percent of players at the highest level of the sport played more than just football when they were kids.
Players on the New England Patriots roster combined to participate in 72 different sports as high school athletes. The most common sport other than football was basketball, with 31 players. Track followed with 23, and then baseball with 12. Surprisingly none of the Patriots wrestled in high school. The athletes who played the most sports during high school (in addition to football) are cornerback Cyrus Jones (track, basketball and baseball), defensive end Chris Long (basketball, baseball and lacrosse) and linebacker Kyle Van Noy (track, basketball and baseball).
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The Atlanta Falcons combined to participate in 67 high school sports. Like the Patriots, the most common sports were track and basketball. There were more soccer players and wrestlers, but none played rugby or lacrosse. The athletes who played the most sports (in addition to football) are defensive end Dwight Freeney (basketball, baseball and soccer) and cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson (track, basketball and soccer).
The lesson? If your dream is to make it to the Super Bowl one day, your best bet is to play multiple sports in high school.