If you want to score a scholarship, your best bet is to play multiple sports. Doing so allows you to display your discipline in managing an active and busy schedule—school, homework, practices, games and training sessions.
“We want to know that you will hold your own and have a good work ethic,” says Scott Richardson, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for Auburn track and field. “We don’t want discipline problems. We want people who will come here and help our program and our school.”
College coaches are rarely interested in a one-sided athlete. Rather, they prefer all-around talents capable of spreading their skills across more than one playing field. Think of the variations in footwork, change of direction and flexibility that occur in different sports. When athletes master those skills, it only further enhances their athletic abilities.
“Baseball helped me learn how to catch the ball at the highest point, which improved my ability at the wide receiver position,” says Seattle Seahawks rookie Golden Tate, a dual-sport athlete in football and baseball at the University of Notre Dame.
When on the recruiting trail, coaches attempt to evaluate an athlete’s future potential, most of which is dependent on athleticism. Contrary to popular belief, specializing in one sport limits an athlete’s potential in that sport—not a good thing in the eyes of a coach. More often than not, if a coach is showing interest, he’ll want to see you in a different playing environment than the sport he’s recruiting you to play. When you specialize in one sport, you limit your options to showcase your athletic abilities.
“When we get a guy who can play multiple positions, we get excited,” says University of South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier. “But, if we get a guy who can play multiple sports, that’s really special.”