A majority of high school athletes participate in more than one sport during the year, but when it comes time to start looking at getting recruited for college, many athletes are torn about which sport to follow to the college level. There are many arguments for specialization in one sport, but there are also a lot of benefits to playing more than one sport. So how do you decide?
One athlete, Kyle Snyder, faced the same dilemma. Kyle was a top tackle for his nationally-ranked high school team in Maryland, heading into his junior season with a chance to help his team to a national title. This would open a lot of doors for Kyle to get recruited at a great college football program. But Kyle is also an incredible wrestler. He has an undefeated record and often trains with collegiate wrestlers to get suitable practice.
Kyle ultimately decided to forgo playing for his football team so he could focus solely on his wrestling career. To make his decision, he had to think critically about his future. He considered all his options and what was going to be best for him and what his goals are. As good as he was at football, he was better at wrestling, and has goals to make it as an Olympic wrestler.
So how do you figure out the best decision for you? Here are some things to consider:
- Academics: Many athletes forget exactly how important their academics are. Being a good athlete is not always enough to earn you a spot on a college team. Coaches are looking for balanced student athletes. If playing just one sport can help you focus academically, it would benefit you to be able to do that, and keep your options open for college opportunities.
- Scholarships: Here, you need to figure out if you need a scholarship to attend college. What kinds of scholarships are available in your sports? Do you have a chance to earn one? It is possible for athletes who are talented enough to earn scholarships in more than one sport, but it is very difficult to do so. Try talking to coaches in more than one sport and gauge the level of interest they have in you in either sport. That can help you determine what kind of future you have in them.
- Where you are most happy: Athletes can get pressured into following one sport when they would rather be playing another. Will you be sacrificing your happiness and goals by following one sport over another? Maybe for more money? It might sound like an okay idea now, but you could end up regretting not following the sport you truly love. If you won’t be happy participating in a sport in college, it could affect the rest of your college experience, including your ability to earn a degree. Being a student is most important, so make sure that whichever sport you choose, you will still be happy as a student at that college.