Should I play multiple sports in HS?
(Courtesy of Coach Jimmy Lamour, Youth Fitness Specialist at Lamour Training Systems)
It is a great question that many athletes that have potential or ability seem to face during these years. The topic has received much more traction since Coach Urban Meyer of Ohio State expressed how he likes two sport athletes. The fact that coaches like two sport athletes does not mean that it is the best option for your student athlete. The biggest misconception is that another sport can make you a better athlete. I have never seen any of the athletes we work with come back any stronger or faster than they were before they left our training sessions. I am not against younger athletes building their movement capabilities as well as coordination with different sports. It keeps the young athletes active, enjoying the opportunity to play sports, and build their ability to get in certain positions. It actually makes sense when their younger as their capacity to learn different movements is high since they are just learning to fine tune their nervous systems. However, I recommend you make a decision by sophomore year as to which sport you will focus on. You can never concentrate on something if you are double minded and your energies are divided. You will also never have a true off-season to improve your speed, conditioning, strength, coordination, and mobility. That time will always be spent playing another sport.
Also, you must get to the purpose behind why you are playing another sport. You can never make progress in an area that you are willing to be honest in. Is it because your sports coach is pressuring you? Is it because your friends play that sport? I have heard many coaches tell their athletes they will run track in order to become faster. I agree this is better than not doing anything at all, but you have to know that all track programs are not created equal. Some track programs do much more conditioning than acceleration or speed work. Also, some are not lifting during the track season. This can create a downward spiral for an athlete that is already small. An increase in conditioning will only make them smaller and lack of strength training will make them weaker. It is not a surprise when these athletes do not become any faster after the track season. We had a solid athlete who was always encouraged by his football coach to run track in the offseason, but his speed was at a stand still. He was a rising Senior and had to produce at the football camps in order to be in position for a scholarship. I told his dad he should skip track and join us in training to focus on enhancing his performance. His dad was hesitant, but when he went from running a 4.7 to a 4.37 at the Shrine Bowl combine we all were thankful.
Furthermore, when you think of how many teams do not lift during the in season this equates to 1 year of not participating in strength work by the time an athlete is a senior. Do you think that can affect your progress? Your strength will be further diminished if you play another sport which also does not lift during the season. The time frame for training for any camps that can help your recruiting exposure will be diminished as well. The way we get our athletes to perform at their best during camps is to start earlier and progress through different stages in our program where we emphasize certain abilities.
Lastly, I wanted to discuss how the way you transition to another sport can make you more injury prone. For instance, we know some football players that will go directly from football to playing basketball. The problem is that athlete could have suffered some muscle imbalances, movement deficiencies, muscle trauma, and central nervous fatigue that are not accounted for. We always have a recovery phase protocol that we make all our athletes adhere to two weeks after the season. This helps deal with the specific issues of each athlete and allows the athlete to allow their body to be ready for more strenuous exercise. Also, some athletes do not have any difference between their in-season or off-season program due to their weight training class. This will cause injury as all stressors must be accounted for and a coach must know how to design a program that is group based but individualized to the needs of each athlete. Hope this article was helpful…feel free to ask any questions you might have.
Jimmy Lamour is a former Guilford College in Greensboro, NC All South Defensive Back. He set the record for interception return yards at the school. Upon Graduation, he tested numerous philosophies on strength and speed through seminars, self-study, conversation with renowned strength coaches, and training of hundreds of athletes. This led him to develop the 4.30 40 Speed System a system that helped him improve his 40 yard dash from a 4.66 to a 4.30, which gave way to many professional football workouts. He later developed Lamour Training Systems with the help of his lovely wife Charlene to help athletes improve their performance and receive knowledge he missed out on as a child. He continues to consult with several division 1, prep schools, and high school coaches. LTS has helped many football athletes play at the D1, D2, and D3 levels. He believes that his passion to see young men become all God intended them to be and provide knowledge of the defensive back position which will allow young athletes under the tutelage of Pick 6 Academy to flourish. He is currently certified as a Youth Fitness specialist, 7on7 Performance Director, and High School Strength & Conditioning Specialist. Also, Coach Lamour is a devout Christian. He has two children Camdon (19) and Micah (12).Sign up for his newsletter to receive his free speed report at http://fastyouthathlete.blogspot.com/ on For more information, call 336-257-9151