110% Divided by (x)Sports

I know playing multiple  sports during a single sports season is not going to be a popular topic, but I’ve had a few families including my own try to accomplish this impossible task.  Team sports is all about the giving 110% to the team, not just yourself as an individual.  There are many individual sports that you can choose if you want to focus on yourself and not a team.  Plus if you sign up for a team sport and miss a ton of practices, you are not only hurting yourself but also the team that is counting on you during the games.  Parents take it from me, your child can not give 110% to more than one sport during a sport’s season and go to school and do Spring, Summer, Christmas and Thanksgiving vacations.  Does your employer allow you to miss work and work multiple jobs?  Not usually, because it hurts performance.

Let me start with my family, several seasons ago, my oldest son was selected for a competitive Spring  baseball team and I was also coaching an off-season Spring Flag football team composed of my regular season tackle football team.  The Spring flag team was a drop-in team just to keep the boys in shape for those that did not play baseball.  My oldest son missed about half the season of the flag football to Spring baseball.  Plus our youngest son was also playing flag and soccer at the same time.  Needless to say, my wife and I were run ragged and neither team got 110% from any of us.  I was the most upset with myself because I made the decision that we could be Supermen.

Over the many years of coaching youth sports, Ive seen a small percentage of families pull off multiple sport participation.  Many of these families were large families with older siblings or close relatives that could drive everyone across town at a moments notice.  But, the vast majority of families that try to play multiple sports during a sports’ season, either quit the team or the player becomes a minimum play player because coaches could not count on the player to show up for practices and or games.

Since I tried to do the multiple sport participation juggling act, I am old school on the topic now.  Hindsight is 20/20.  🙂  You can’t divide 110% by 3 Sports and get 100%.  It just does not work.  Coaches may tell you its ok little Johnny can miss, because most of us do not want any extra drama at practices.  Bottom line, coaches do not like anyone to miss practices or games, except for the occasional excused absence; school function, illness, funeral, car / transportation issues, etc.

So parents and players, please play only one sport during a sport’s season.  This is only fair to the team.  Sure you can play multiple sports during the year, I did and loved it.  My freshman year in High School, I swam, ran track, played football, basketball and baseball and played racquetball on the weekends. But  after my freshman year, I focused on football and played racquetball in the off-season.

Play for fun and Winning is funner.

Coach Parker

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  1. I am a 100% with you on this. I Coach Football,Baseball and Basketball.My son plays all three also. It starts to wear evveryone down and where you can not give a 100% to the kids and the team.

  2. RE: 110% Divided by (x)Sports

    Hey Coach. I’m a recovering multi-sports juggler and I agree 100% with your article. However, I want to add something. I’m not a fan of youth sports with tendencies to expand out of their “traditional” season. Spring football is a new thing here in Denver and I’m not fond of the idea. To each his own, but soccer, lacrosse and hockey are trying to go year round. Baseball is trying its darndest to join the club. From speaking with other parents and from my own experience, there is a lot of pressure at the competitive levels to play Spring This or Fall That. We as parents need to stand up for our kids and say “enough”.

    My son felt immense pressure in 2009 to either miss football practice or quit altogether for the sake of ice hockey. As you know, football in these parts starts in August and wraps up in November, if you’re lucky.

    In August, I asked the hockey folks if he could miss day one of a 3-day tryout so he could participate in a football scrimmage. Permission denied. “Every day of a tryout is critical. We need to get as many eyes on him as we can.” He was in tears over missing that scrimmage. Adding insult to injury, they told us after the first day that he had made the team and didn’t need to come back. The ice hockey organization he was with that year gives a big speech every year about putting the skates away and being a multi-sport athlete. Then in the fall, they’ll qualify “Play multiple sports” with “as long as hockey comes first”. Hockey runs from August to April. That’s 8 solid months of hockey.

    This year, we found him a different organization with a more enlightened attitude. The director told me that he’d see us in November when football was over. I’ve kicked the habit of trying to get him to play 2 sports at once, but to me, Football is a Fall sport. Hockey is a Winter sport, Baseball is a Spring sport. I’m not sure what Soccer is. I guess it’s sort of a sport.

  3. Gumby,

    After coaching spring football this season for the first time, I can appreciate the Fall tackle football argument more, especially below 7th grade. Although, some kids do not like to play baseball or other sports and Spring football allows them physical activity that they might not otherwise receive.

    Coach Parker

  4. Coach,

    I agree with you 100%. We tell parents and athletes that during fall football, that we need 100% commitment from them. Football is the ultimate team sport and when we are missing just 1 player the overall chemistry of the team is hurt. For the past 2 years our team has been lucky, we have missed a couple of athletes due to school field trips or family commitment. Parents need to understand that we as coaches are giving 100% of our time and energy and we need the same from them.

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