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#130355 - 08/19/15 01:08 PM Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes  
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Chris Bates, Princeton
Bates' 12-year-old son, Nick, plays soccer, basketball and lacrosse.

On recruiting multi-sport athletes: "These guys have a high level of athleticism but probably haven't peaked yet as lacrosse players. Once they get to college, they will specialize and will develop and blossom. They usually have a steep growth curve, whereas some of the kids who have been single-sport athletes tend to burn out quicker. Oftentimes, they don't have as much left in the tank."
Advice to parents: "If you are in that environment where your kid is specializing in one sport across several seasons, understand what you are getting for what you are paying. You want to be in a good teaching environment. With so much focus these days on games, games, games, what's getting lost is practice, practice, practice."
About his son: "He plays these sports because he loves to do so. But even now, some of his coaches want him to play across several seasons. We have to draw some limits, and explain that in the spring, he'll be playing lacrosse and not soccer, which he plays in the fall. The boundaries have to be clear. I'd frown on having my son play just one sport. There are lots of transitive properties — things like spacing, vision and defensive footwork — that he brings from one sport to the other."
Matt Kerwick, Cornell
Kerwick's 9-year-old son, Thomas, participates in swimming, running and karate. His 8-year-old son, Sean, plays soccer, ice hockey and lacrosse.
On recruiting multi-sport athletes: "We certainly see more well-rounded athletes who have an ability to accept different coaching styles. They understand the dynamics of being on a team. That's not to say that we don't like seeing athletes who are also involved in individual sports, where they have to have the discipline to push themselves to be their best."
Advice to parents: "Don't think your kid is missing out by not playing lacrosse all year long. As coaches, we'd rather see them competing in multiple sports. There's a lot more benefit to that than in having a lacrosse stick in your hand year-round. College coaches are more interested in the intangibles."
About his sons: "One of the things I love about having my kids involved in multiple sports and activities is the friendships they are making. Certainly, being physically fit and developing as athletes are also important benefits, but they are also learning lessons about being good teammates and working together as a group. And of course, it's important that they are having fun."
Janine Tucker, Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins women's lacrosse coach Janine Tucker says her son, Virginia midfielder Ryan Tucker, developed mental toughness as a middle-school wrestler.
Tucker's 21-year-old son, Ryan, plays lacrosse at Virginia. He also played soccer in high school. Her 20-year-old son, Devin, played soccer and lacrosse through high school.
On recruiting multi-sport athletes: "We prefer to recruit players who are multi-sport athletes for a variety of reasons, first among them the diversity of skill sets that they develop. It also allows opportunities to be leaders, to stay in good shape, to stretch themselves as athletes, communicators, teammates and leaders. Another benefit, maybe in one sport the kid shines and is a leader. In another sport, they may not be the superstar. So they learn to be humble, to be a good teammate and to support the go-to players. That's a tremendous benefit."
Advice to parents: "Of the recruits we see, one of the first questions I ask is, 'Do you play basketball?' If they do, they understand angles, footwork and how to get low on defense. Those are critical skill sets for basketball players that are engrained in their heads. We also love soccer players, because they can run all day. Those skill sets translate into our game. There's pressure for kids to specialize in lacrosse. I see it backfiring. Often it's the parents who want to their kids to specialize. That's dicey. A lot of these lacrosse recruits are on teams that go 20-0. If you play soccer and are on a .500 team, you learn to manage tough losses and pick yourself back up. That's an invaluable experience as you grow."
On the burnout factor: "Playing multiple sports also keeps sports and competing fresh for kids. No offense to the kid who's played just one sport since age 6, but by junior year of high school, they're burned out from that one sport. At our level, you must have a burning passion to compete, to work hard and play at high level. That wanes if you're burning out early. Embracing playing another sport helps keep lacrosse more fresh; you're more pumped get out there and get your stick in your hand. You can still do extra work on lacrosse, while playing soccer, basketball and field hockey."
About her kids: "Ryan wrestled through middle school, and in eighth grade, I watched a transformation of him. He transformed his whole mindset and developed that mental toughness to zero in on an opponent, to challenge himself to fight to get that extra point. That was a turning point for him. It if wasn't for wrestling, that mental toughness would've taken longer to come. The way he carried himself after that, what he said, just listening to him — you could tell he learned to really dig deep to compete. That was life-changing for him... With both of them, playing multiple sports exposed them to different kinds of coaching. It helped them get a big-picture understanding that teams do things differently — philosophies, styles — and athletes must pull what they can from a coach, a style, an environment to play. The great byproduct of those differences is that it helped them in so many situations — life, sports, the classroom — to communicate differently and assert themselves."
Jeff Tambroni, Penn State
Tambroni's 12-year-old daughter, Carissa, plays ice hockey, field hockey and golf. His 10-year-old daughter, Maddie, plays field hockey, lacrosse and golf. His 6-year-old daughter, Ella, is a gymnast and plays soccer.
On recruiting multi-sport athletes: "I really believe multi-sport participation increases the athletic I.Q. of players. Players can work individually on developing skills, but being a member of different teams provides opportunities to develop game instincts that produce more athletic players. There are parallels between certain sports, and we'll look at a player's athleticism in another sport and project his potential as a lacrosse player."
Advice to parents: "I understand that sometimes we are speaking out of both sides of our mouth by saying we encourage athletes to play two or three sports in high school, while the reality is that we're looking to recruit the player who is the best fit for our program, whether they play one sport or three. But all things being equal, meaning that we're considering two players with comparable skills, we'll take the multi-sport athlete."
About his daughters: "Obviously, we're not concerned about recruiting at this point in their lives. It's more about exposing them to different options, allowing them to enjoy themselves and letting them choose what they want to continue playing. We make sure that there is a balance so that each sport stays fresh. I love that they are learning about being part of a team and also developing friendships."
Scott Marr, Albany
Marr's 17-year-old son, Kyle, plays ice hockey and lacrosse. His 16-year-old daughter, Jordyn, plays ice hockey, lacrosse and golf.
On recruiting multi-sport athletes: "What we like is the diversity that these kids experience — different rules, different skill sets, different coaching styles. They're not doing the same thing all the time, but learning and understanding different strategies and muscle memory. It strengthens the mind to learn different skills. And they may experience different roles on different teams, like being the best player on one team but a supporting player on another team. That can be valuable and gives them great perspective."
Advice to parents: "Don't succumb to the pressure that your kid 'has to do this' to get to the next level. The myth is that if you miss this tournament or that camp that you won't make it. That's not true. I don't feel like you get the best out of kids when they are playing a sport nine months out of the year. Nothing feels really special anymore, because they are playing all the time and feel like they have to be at every tournament."
About his kids: "One of the hockey teams my daughter is being encouraged to play for next year has a coach who has said he doesn't want her to play other sports. I can tell you she won't be playing for him next year. I've noticed in my kids that their enthusiasm is much stronger when they return to a sport that they haven't played for several months. They're excited to get the stick back in their hand. Taking a break keeps it fresh."


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#130429 - 08/19/15 09:15 PM Re: Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes [Re: TommyM]  

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Urban Meyer’s football recruits at Ohio State shift the paradigm in youth sports. A majority of his recruits are multi-sport kids, is not new information, but it has caused quite a stir. Here is what it says in a nutshell:
To be an elite level player at a college or professional sport, you need a degree of exceptional athleticism. And the best medically, scientifically and psychologically recommended way to develop such all around athleticism is ample free play and multiple sport participation as a child.
Why? Well let’s see what the experts say:
Coaches and Elite Athletes:
Pete Carroll, former USC and now Seattle Seahawks Football coach, says here “The first questions I’ll ask about a kid are, ‘What other sports does he play? What does he do? What are his positions? Is he a big hitter in baseball? Is he a pitcher? Does he play hoops?’ All of those things are important to me. I hate that kids don’t play three sports in high school. I think that they should play year-round and get every bit of it that they can through that experience. I really, really don’t favor kids having to specialize in one sport. Even [at USC], I want to be the biggest proponent for two-sport athletes on the college level. I want guys that are so special athletically, and so competitive, that they can compete in more than one sport.”
Dom Starsia, University of Virginia men’s lacrosse: “My trick question to young campers is always, ‘How do you learn the concepts of team offense in lacrosse or team defense in lacrosse in the off-season, when you’re not playing with your team?’ The answer is by playing basketball, by playing hockey and by playing soccer and those other team games, because many of those principles are exactly the same. Probably 95 percent [of our players] are multi-sport athletes. It’s always a bit strange to me if somebody is not playing other sports in high school.”

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#130437 - 08/19/15 11:06 PM Re: Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes [Re: TommyM]  

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They all prefer great lacrosse players who can dominate because they are great athletes (and prove that by playing other sports at a high level) or are older (and prove that by playing younger kids).



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#130448 - 08/20/15 06:32 AM Re: Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes [Re: Anonymous]  

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Originally Posted by Anonymous
They all prefer great lacrosse players who can dominate because they are great athletes (and prove that by playing other sports at a high level) or are older (and prove that by playing younger kids).



Correct. This is one of those things that sounds good, and is, but the coaches are hypocritical on the subject. The most honest statement out of all of those quotes was from the Penn State coach ... "I understand that sometimes we are speaking out of both sides of our mouth by saying we encourage athletes to play two or three sports in high school, while the reality is that we're looking to recruit the player who is the best fit for our program, whether they play one sport or three. But all things being equal, meaning that we're considering two players with comparable skills, we'll take the multi-sport athlete."

Because I am pretty sure that they don't want their recruits playing summer soccer club ball instead of lax etc. And I'm pretty sure that they don't mean just play lacrosse from March through May during the High School season.

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#130460 - 08/20/15 07:30 AM Re: Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes [Re: Anonymous]  

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Wow, this is all very new to me. I never would have thought that college coaches looked for the best athletes. The athletes that are recruited to play football at schools like USC or Ohio State are genetically gifted. These athletes are "freaks". They are not that way because they play multiple sports. These athletes are born with a gift that allows them to excel in just about any athletic activity.

Superior athleticism enables kids to "not" specialize yet still excel at multiple sports. Once the gap in general athleticism closes and all the athletes possess a very high degree of raw athletic ability work ethic, IQ, focus, skill level etc... become critical. The need to specialize will come at different times for all athletes. For some it will be 9th grade, for others it will be 11th grade and for others it will be in college.

How many of the high school three sport athletes (football, basketball, lacrosse) who play lacrosse at Virginia were recruited to play football at Ohio State or USC? Not many, they are not that caliber of athlete.



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#130475 - 08/20/15 09:02 AM Re: Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes [Re: TommyM]  

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Yet, many colleges coaches son's who play lacrosse only play lacrosse. Hmmm

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#130499 - 08/20/15 11:10 AM Re: Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes [Re: TommyM]  
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Its also about being put in different situations mentally. We all know it takes a gifted athlete to play at the next level but it also take a certain mental toughness. Playing another sport be it Football, Soccer, Wrestling, etc all involve using your body and your mind. I also think by playing these other sports you also take away some of the repetitive use injuries we have been seeing occur at an alarming rate. Be it ACL, repeated concussions, elbow and many of the other surgeries we are seeing young kids get. Its good to take a break from all out competitive play in one particular sport and do something else. You never stop training but you get away from the daily rigors of just one sport and do something else to help develop physically and mentally.

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#130502 - 08/20/15 11:21 AM Re: Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes [Re: America's Game]  

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True that most coaches at the youth level push specialization. However, that is their job to focus on the one sport they are coaching. That said, it is up to the parents to see the big picture. Speak to any sports medicine/orthopaedic surgeon and the overuse/repetitive injury stories are real and being researched. As for a child's mental state, there is less pressure on the child playing multiple sports, creating resilience. If they have a bad day at lax, they can take it out in football. I child that doesn't stress always plays better.

Good post, starting good convo...

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#130538 - 08/20/15 01:36 PM Re: Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes [Re: Anonymous]  

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Originally Posted by Anonymous
True that most coaches at the youth level push specialization. However, that is their job to focus on the one sport they are coaching. That said, it is up to the parents to see the big picture. Speak to any sports medicine/orthopaedic surgeon and the overuse/repetitive injury stories are real and being researched. As for a child's mental state, there is less pressure on the child playing multiple sports, creating resilience. If they have a bad day at lax, they can take it out in football. I child that doesn't stress always plays better.

Good post, starting good convo...


All true. And btw, they should also play an instrument, learn science, math and great literature. In other words, a well-rounded kid will do better in life and in sport. Having said that, I know a kid who is a great golfer, and all he wants to do is play 24/7. To each his/her own.

If your kids are happy, healthy and confident, they will find their path.

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#130587 - 08/20/15 07:22 PM Re: Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes [Re: Anonymous]  

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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Urban Meyer’s football recruits at Ohio State shift the paradigm in youth sports. A majority of his recruits are multi-sport kids, is not new information, but it has caused quite a stir. Here is what it says in a nutshell:
To be an elite level player at a college or professional sport, you need a degree of exceptional athleticism. And the best medically, scientifically and psychologically recommended way to develop such all around athleticism is ample free play and multiple sport participation as a child.
Why? Well let’s see what the experts say:
Coaches and Elite Athletes:
Pete Carroll, former USC and now Seattle Seahawks Football coach, says here “The first questions I’ll ask about a kid are, ‘What other sports does he play? What does he do? What are his positions? Is he a big hitter in baseball? Is he a pitcher? Does he play hoops?’ All of those things are important to me. I hate that kids don’t play three sports in high school. I think that they should play year-round and get every bit of it that they can through that experience. I really, really don’t favor kids having to specialize in one sport. Even [at USC], I want to be the biggest proponent for two-sport athletes on the college level. I want guys that are so special athletically, and so competitive, that they can compete in more than one sport.”
Dom Starsia, University of Virginia men’s lacrosse: “My trick question to young campers is always, ‘How do you learn the concepts of team offense in lacrosse or team defense in lacrosse in the off-season, when you’re not playing with your team?’ The answer is by playing basketball, by playing hockey and by playing soccer and those other team games, because many of those principles are exactly the same. Probably 95 percent [of our players] are multi-sport athletes. It’s always a bit strange to me if somebody is not playing other sports in high school.”


Yeah but the kids being talked about by these coaches are probably the top 5% athletes, or better. They're not the majority of the kids playing HS sports. It's getting tougher and tougher to play multiple sports, due to all the travel clubs for all sports. All the best soccer players play club. If your main sport is lax, you can't play travel soccer, so it can be very hard to make the team, depending on your HS. Unless of course you're the extremely rare kid that Pete Carrol or Dom Starsia are talking to!

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#130617 - 08/21/15 07:30 AM Re: Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes [Re: Anonymous]  

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Lacrosse and Soccer work as long as you don't play in every off season fall pick up tournament, we have done it.

On the best rounded athlete, just look at college football kids going D1, a large number of them are listed as Athletes under position. That kind of says it all. A great athlete will always find a team and a position.

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#130689 - 08/21/15 11:28 AM Re: Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes [Re: Anonymous]  

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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Lacrosse and Soccer work as long as you don't play in every off season fall pick up tournament, we have done it.

On the best rounded athlete, just look at college football kids going D1, a large number of them are listed as Athletes under position. That kind of says it all. A great athlete will always find a team and a position.

The Canadians and Iroquois are the best lax players. Tell that to the lax/soccer player or lax/basketball player.

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#130692 - 08/21/15 11:48 AM Re: Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes [Re: Anonymous]  

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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Lacrosse and Soccer work as long as you don't play in every off season fall pick up tournament, we have done it.

On the best rounded athlete, just look at college football kids going D1, a large number of them are listed as Athletes under position. That kind of says it all. A great athlete will always find a team and a position.

The Canadians and Iroquois are the best lax players. Tell that to the lax/soccer player or lax/basketball player.


Yeah and let's see how many Canadian and Iroquois have the grades to get into the top academic and lacrosse program. I answer that for you, very few.

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#130705 - 08/21/15 01:09 PM Re: Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes [Re: Anonymous]  

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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Lacrosse and Soccer work as long as you don't play in every off season fall pick up tournament, we have done it.

On the best rounded athlete, just look at college football kids going D1, a large number of them are listed as Athletes under position. That kind of says it all. A great athlete will always find a team and a position.

The Canadians and Iroquois are the best lax players. Tell that to the lax/soccer player or lax/basketball player.


Yeah and let's see how many Canadian and Iroquois have the grades to get into the top academic and lacrosse program. I answer that for you, very few.


They play year round, and the kids who play year round are better lax players.

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#130717 - 08/21/15 01:50 PM Re: Why College Coaches Prefer Multi-Sport Athletes [Re: Anonymous]  

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Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Originally Posted by Anonymous
Lacrosse and Soccer work as long as you don't play in every off season fall pick up tournament, we have done it.

On the best rounded athlete, just look at college football kids going D1, a large number of them are listed as Athletes under position. That kind of says it all. A great athlete will always find a team and a position.

The Canadians and Iroquois are the best lax players. Tell that to the lax/soccer player or lax/basketball player.


Yeah and let's see how many Canadian and Iroquois have the grades to get into the top academic and lacrosse program. I answer that for you, very few.


They play year round, and the kids who play year round are better lax players.


are you saying that none of these Canadian lax players also play hockey? I would bet a few might, like 95% - maybe if John Tavares had only played one sport (lacrosse) instead of two he might have become a D1 lacrosse player and now he would be coaching a summer team and giving private lessons

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