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Should I play multiple sports in HS?(Coach Jimmy Lamour at Lamour Training Systems)

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 on For more information, call 336-257-9151

7 Comments on “Should I play multiple sports in HS?(Coach Jimmy Lamour at Lamour Training Systems)

  1. Track and field is the ONLY sport that helps ALL of the sports! Any athlete serious about improving in his/her sport takes weight training as a class during high school so the argument about track coaches not weight training during practice is moot.CONDITIONING is VERY important in ALL sports!If the football player can run a legitimate 4.6 or whatever in the 40, he is most likely going to play on many special teams in high school if not also playing BOTH sides of the ball. In other words, if he plays 35- 40 out of the 48 minutes, he had better be in condition. A track coach that ONLY works on speed and neglects conditioning WILL NOT win too many conference titles or beyond by only working on speed in practice. Even the 100 meters requires some amount of speed/endurance since most athletes obtain top end speed after 40-60 meters.In many world class 100 meter races the winner is the one that slows down the least over the last 30-40 meters of the race. Going back to the high school coach that would only work on speed, at best only 3-4 events out of the 18 would get coverage.How can a coach win in any sport by only coaching 17%-22% of what is required? There are other intangibles that track and field participation can do for a football player. How about speed/agility gained from running the hurdles? How about speed AND MENTAL TOUGHNESS obtained by running the 400 meters or the 4×400 relay.How about agility/power/balance obtained by the triple jump? How about explosion gained from the shot put? How about the combination of power/balance/explosion from the discus throw? How about the overall athleticism from the pole vault? That event requires upper body strength, speed, jumping ability and fearlessness. How about the high jump and long jump for power/speed/and additional jumping ability? There are countless numbers of NFL and NBA greats that participated in track and field in either high school, college or both.I’m certain many of these names will ring a bell with some of you: Wilt Chamberlin, Deon Sanders, Terry Bradshaw, Drew Bledsoe, David Thompson, Herschel Walker, Bob McAdoo, Nyhiem Hines, Mike Quick,Danny Peebles and there are many others.

  2. I added some college standouts(one current) from this state in addition to the NBA and NFL players I mentioned earlier.

  3. I agree with Coach David Blue. One point that has not been mentioned is the fact that most HS athletes who are great in two sports (say football and basketball)has no idea which sport he will excel in once he gets in college. Look at Lebron James. He was an outstanding FB player in HS but he was a better basketball player. He could have been an outstanding college FB player and probably an outstanding NFL player. But he chose the path that he did because that is what he wanted to do. But most kids are not going to receive college athletic scholarships so why should they not enjoy their HS career. If they want to play FB, basketball or wrestle and baseball or track then they should be allowed to do so. Like Coach Blue said before that if kids are serious about improving then they will take a weight training class the entire time they are in HS. This does not guarantee that they will get a college athletic scholarship but it will guarantee that they will become bigger, faster and stronger while in HS.

  4. I believe wrestling in middle school and into high school would help most football players more than track. You want to talk about endurance and overall fitness, wrestling builds it! You build all traits listed above by Coach Blue and you also learn leverage, something you want get from track.

  5. Although I don’t coach wrestling, I have a great appreciation for the work ethic and mental toughness the sport instills. We do try and recruit wrestlers into both our track and cross country programs. I also agree that wrestling helps football. I can’t completely agree that it helps more than track. I could see how a motivated high school football player would wrestle in the winter and run outdoor track in the spring. I’m sure football coaches would enjoy coaching guys that did both sports the following fall.

  6. Coaches,

    I think the point is that many coaches think that playing a certain sport will make them better in another sport. Do we need to play these other sports to improve our speed, conditioning, strength, coordination, etc…? If that were the case all our players that participated in those sports would become better. In my experience that is not the case and many athletes fall behind in their development. Coach Blue, my thought process was that conditioning is done incorrectly for the sport for the most part. Football plays last 4-5 seconds and their is a recovery period on average of 45-50 seconds between plays. Why is it necessary to run gassers or conditioning methods that last longer than we will be required to run? Football is a majority anaerobic and aerobic sport. These are the dominant energy systems of the sport. However, gassers are in the Glycolytic energy system. Lastly, the statement that all these athletes ran track before they played football at a high level is trivial. Yes, there is a benefit if it was a quality track program, but how do we know their coaches followed proper principles. Could these athletes have been good players without running track? Are you documenting how many players improve by playing another sport. I am only asking these questions to make sure we are optimally preparing our athletes and not just prescribing what our coaches taught us.

  7. All sports can benefit others depending on the athlete. As a track coach I have found many excellent athletes from other sports because I recruit from all sports. You can look at any football recruiting site or a collegiate fan site and if a kid has outstanding track performances those are often listed as well as often talked about on such sites. I had two guys from my previous school that both played football and ran track. They happened to be collegiate level track athletes that were recruited for that sport and ZERO schools were recruiting them for football. Had they just stuck to football and never tried track then they would have had ZERO collegiate athletics options!

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