Choices: Athletes must decide between multiple sports and club teams

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Choices: Athletes must decide between multiple sports and club teams

Sammie Hoefs plays soccer for her club team.

Sammie Hoefs plays soccer for her club team.

courtesy of Sue Hoefs

Sammie Hoefs plays soccer for her club team.

courtesy of Sue Hoefs

courtesy of Sue Hoefs

Sammie Hoefs plays soccer for her club team.

by Sammie Hoefs, Reporter

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Imagine this: You’re 14 years old and you have to pick one sport to play until your 20’s. This is reality for many high school freshmen who have to choose to play club sports at a higher level for a chance to play in college and/or play for their high school team and represent their communities.

I was one of them, and I can tell you the decision is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I have been a two-sport athlete my entire life, soccer and lacrosse, until the time came when I had to decide. I chose to follow my sister’s path and play soccer full time with the ultimate goal to play Division 1, just like she did. Hannah Hoefs committed to University of Maryland to play soccer but transferred to Loyola University in Baltimore. Even though it was a tough decision, I knew soccer was the sport for me.

As high school was starting and soccer season began, my skills improved. Specializing in soccer has allowed me to improve and excel at my sport. However, my love for lacrosse never left, and I decided to play in high school. When I got to high school, I was excited to represent my community by playing for the lacrosse team. Splitting my free time between soccer practice and backyard training for lacrosse all winter, I was finally ready to take the field. The day before tryouts I received the spring club soccer schedule. Everything conflicted and I had to decide. I chose to stick with club because that is the sport I want to continue in college.

Hannah Hoefs said, “As a current Division 1 athlete I am grateful for the opportunity club sports gave me to further my career in soccer; however, I wish I had been able to participate more in my high school athletics, to have the memories and experiences with my high school friends outside of the classroom.”

Many teens often find themselves in a dilemma of commiting to one sport. The first thing you would do is list the pros and cons. One thing to ask yourself is: Are you really up to the challenge of playing sports in high school and club? What sport is your heart telling you to follow?

Pros to multiple sports:

  • Diversity – Over the years teens that play multiple sports will develop a more diverse skill set. Playing multiple sports will allow the athlete to improve on other skills needed for multiple sports. New expierences will help open up new ideas and a diverse mind set for different sports.
  • Leisure Activity – Another pro is there will be a sport who pushes you to your limits. Athletes who play just one sport year-round may develop a burnout. While playing other sports, you won’t be pressured by just one sport. You can have recreational sports to enjoy for fun. Many athletes will have that one sport just for fun to reduce stress.
  • Creativity – Multi-sport athletes tend to be smarter and more creative players. They won’t even notice, but they will incorporate the skills they’ve learned in other sports. Playing different positions and expanding their mindset will  They will evolve over the years and become more talented players.

“A 2013 American Medical Society for Sports Medicine survey found that 88% of college athletes surveyed participated in more than one sport as a child.”

Many believe if they are going to play a sport in college, they must specialize in that one sport. However, a 2003 study  shows most professionals spent 10,000 hours involved in sports, but only 3,000 on the sport they continued in college.

Cons to multiple sports:

  • Injury – A risk of injury in one sport could end your career in others. An injury in a sport during their off-season could finish a career that hasn’t even started.
  • Time – Another con is there simply may not be enough time. There’s so much you want to do while also juggling your other activities and school work as well. High school athletes have practice after school every day and even on the weekends. This could lead to having to miss out on life while racing to try and get to each and every sport. This may also lead to grades dropping and losing focus on school work.
  • No time off – Players get better in the offseason, but with multiple sports going on there is no offseason. They then have to rely on natural ability and training in other sports to improve.

Pros to one sport:

  • College Aspirations – If an athlete is looking to play in college, playing at club level is an ideal choice. This allows players to perfect the sport they plan to further their career in.
  • Confidence – Once an athlete grows into their sport, they begin to feel confident in their game. Their love for that sport will continue to grow because they feel they are good at what they do. Confidence from the sport can also be seen in the classroom and in your community. If you are struggling to balance more than one sport, your confidence level could go down because of the stress that is starting to take over.
  • Free time – Not having to go through multiple practices a day after a long day at school allows you to have free time. You are able to hang out with your friends and family or do other activities. Having time away from sports is essential for growing and becoming a well-rounded individual.

Cons to one sport:

  • Stress – Playing more than one sport can cause stress which could later result in athletes quitting sports completely. When playing club, you are constantly doing the same thing year round. Overuse and repetitive movements of muscles and bones can cause an athlete to develop injuries This overuse can cause your body’s past injuries to get injured once again because of the constant repetitive motion.
  • Specialization too early – Specializing in a sport too early in a player’s athletic career can cause a player to “burn out” meaning their love and passion for the sport goes away. Too much of one sport can cause athletes to want to quit and change sports.
  • Pressure – Athletes will tend to start to feel the pressure to be the perfect athlete in that sport. They will only focus in getting better and start to neglect things around them leading to an unhealthy relationship on life.   

It all comes down to what you know you are capable of handling. Whether you play one sport or three, an athlete knows what their body can handle. Some always need to have something going on in their lives, so they never have an offseason. Some just want that one sport to focus on, but at the same time they need time to themselves away from the game.

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