Why you should keep playing multiple sports!

In the past 15-20 years it has become a much larger issue than ever before. That is, “should my child play multiple sports?” The answer is a resounding YES!

Organizations such as College Park Baseball Club are in place to provide the utmost educational and instructional environment for youth baseball. However, there is a need to take at least 1 season to play another sport. It has been well documented that the majority of college coaches prefer to recruit multi-sport athletes for various reasons.  Those reasons are: less overtraining, less likely to suffer serious injuries, less burnout, they tend to be more coachable, constant competing, transition and adjust to different positions easier, and more times than not, their ceiling is higher. Let’s take a closer look at each of these topics.

Athletes that participate in multiple sports rarely overtrain at one particular sport. They must split their time and dedication across multiple training sessions, types of training, and prevent overuse of sport specific muscles. For example, if you were playing football and baseball, the use of your shoulder and back is not used the same in both sports which prevents overworking those particular muscles and joints.

An added benefit of this is reducing the wear and tear that comes with scaling back the use of sport specific muscles and joints which reduces the likelihood of suffering a major injury on one of those areas.  This is another reason that many world-class athletes have been “cross-training” even once they have become professional in their respective sport.

Burnout among younger athletes has become a very serious problem in which many of our talented players have logged so many hours playing one sport that often times by the time they reach high school they have been either forced to play too long, or their desire and love with the sport diminishes. Everyone needs time-off from training, thinking and working for each sport otherwise the burnout phase strikes everyone!

Being a coachable athlete means that you can adapt to different coaching styles as well as different adversities. ALL coaches look for athletes that are lower maintenance, self motivated, problem solvers and ones that can adapt to the ever changing challenges that each sport possesses. That tends to be athletes that have experienced all of the aforementioned positives of playing multiple sports.

ABC (always be competing) is a mantra that the best of the best all subscribe to. When talking about how to become elite at anything, you must always be competing. The benefit of playing additional sports is that you are competing more frequently. Staleness or complacency created by not competing in games and for “wins” is something that multi-sport athletes avoid because they find themselves competing more frequently.

Resiliency and the ability to adjust tends to be higher in athletes that compete in multiple sports. Those that tend to focus on one sport, train heavily at one position and tend to be less open or even capable to transition to another position because “they have always played position X”. By not overtraining at one sport/position multi-sport athletes adapt easier to playing other positions and even embrace the opportunity to the new challenge. They often times are more “athletic” and capable of adapting to change easier.

Often times, college coaches and professional scouts note that single sport athletes are closer to their top potential vs players that play multiple sports. If all you have done is focus on one sport/one position, a coach/scout can see where you are, however there really is not much room for significant growth. To the contrary, those that are multiple sport athletes, tend to be further away from their potential because they have focused more on being an athlete instead of singling out their potential at a specific sport.

As you can see there are many advantages of playing multiple sports as long as you can throughout your high school years, and beyond if you are gifted enough.  USA Today, Stack.com and the NCAA have all done studies on these topics and echo what has long been a belief that children should participate in multiple sports as long as their abilities allow them to. With over 60 years of coaching among College Park Baseball Club coaches (high school, junior college, and division 1) we want to emphasize to all of you that it is possible to play baseball up to 9 months of the year and still participate in another sport for at least 3 months of the year. We hope that you understand that the benefits far outweigh the “perceived” negatives of focusing on one sport at too early of an age. #goknights #cpknights #beanathlete

 

Off Season Arm Care

As we are nearing the end of the fall season and entering winter, it is important to understand that there is a need to not only re-charge the baseball battery, but more importantly to rest, strengthen and recover the arm. As we all know, the arm is a crucial component in the game of baseball, so ensuring its health and strength is crucial for long term success.

Once a year we ask each of our athletes to take some precious time off from throwing to allow for some significant rest, recovery, and strengthening.

Athletes are typically asked to take a minimum of 30 days off from ALL throwing activities (during a calendar year). During that period of rest, athletes should continue to work out (weight train, and even a version of conditioning) in order to not only maintain a healthy strength and mobility level, but to achieve strength and flexibility gains which will then produce a stronger arm with hopefully more endurance and even more velocity.

Once the athletes’ “rest” period is over, athletes should establish or follow a “return to throw” program. This program can be slow, or modified depending on certain factors: length of time before competition starts, position, previous injury background and frequency of catch play.

Once athletes begin their throwing program, they must also include band work or control weighted ball play. Through this program athletes must also understand that there will be some “soreness” but there should not be “pain”. The difference is a little muscle work resulting in growth (similar to weight lifting soreness) vs a sharp pain in a very specific location.

Remember, the arm is a precious thing and must be taken care of in order to last as long as it possibly can.

Feel free to reach out to us for guidance or information regarding anything written above. Good luck and #GoKnights.