Article originally published 2017
J.J. Watt has strong opinions about young athletes specializing in one sport. The Houston Texans defensive end took to Twitter last night to share his thoughts on what’s become a lively debate in the amateur athletic community:
Everyone’s entitled to make their own decision, but the research supports Watt, who was a four-sport athlete in high school, for what it’s worth. Of all the athletes selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, nearly 90 percent played multiple sports in high school. Numbers like that are tough to ignore. The benefits of being a multi-sport athlete are immense. Playing different sports teaches your body to move in different ways and reinforces competitiveness. It also can reduce your chance of suffering a sports-related injury.
Watt is not alone. Athletes like Calais Campbell, Larry Fitzgerald, Chris Archer, Terrell Owens and Amar’e Stoudemire have all told STACK they believe playing multiple sports made them better overall athletes.
“Playing multiple sports 100 percent made me a better athlete,” Campbell said. “When you play different sports, you’re forced to do different things. I learned quick-twitch stuff from basketball. Track and field, I learned about my stride, my jumping, my hip thrust. I actually even wrestled for awhile, and that helped me learn leverage and momentum. It all transfers over and develops different muscle groups.”