When To Limit An Athlete To One Sport?

When To Limit An Athlete To One Sport?

There is no real answer.
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This is a question that doesn't really have a clear answer. Whenever you have incredibly athletic kids, sometimes it can be hard to choose when it is time to pick a sport and stick with that one or let them play all of them.

This was what my parents struggled with when my sister and I were growing up. Being the oldest in my family, I do not think that they expected me to be as athletic as I turned out to be. My first year of soccer all I did was kick the ball out of bounds because I thought that was a good thing. One day I guess a switch flipped and I became fast and talented. My sister had to go to my games, and being only eighteen months apart she looked up to me and wanted to play soccer as well.

Soon after I was playing all of the sports, as was my sister. We were playing softball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball. I remember my other friend's parents told them to pick one or two sports and only do those. My parents never made me or my sister do that. I liked all of them and I was good at all of them. Every season I had something new to look forward to. Also, I don't think that my parents had the heart to make me give up one.

My sister ended up quitting softball in third grade, narrowing her down to only volleyball, basketball, and softball. She didn't seem too upset about it, but there was no way I wanted to quit softball- I loved it, so I kept playing. However, because my sister quit she was able to focus more on other sports. We were very young, but my sister was attending more and more soccer practices that I wasn't able to attend over the summer because of softball. She was getting faster, more in shape, and had better ball skills.

Freshman year I went into high school and finally had to make a decision. Softball and volleyball were the same season and I had to choose between one of them. I was completely torn because although I was better at volleyball, I enjoyed softball more. I ended up going with softball. I missed volleyball a lot, though, but I also enjoyed the season that I played in softball. That freshman year I also played basketball and then soccer.

The next year, I let my friends talk me into playing volleyball instead of softball. I went to volleyball practice and was excited to finally make a comeback and play again. However, being there was kind of boring and I immediately wished I would have gone to softball instead. I dealt with my decision and kept going with my volleyball tryouts. We had to run the mile in volleyball. I've always had a lot of stamina and could run pretty fast, so I finished first by about a lap. This is when the cross country coaches approached me and asked me to run cross country instead of playing volleyball. I went home and thought about it, then decided that cross country was probably a lot better for me, so that's what I did.

Cross country season was fun. I learned a lot of new things, but it was also very tough. Out of all the sports I played in my life, cross country was probably the most difficult. I was going to three practices in one night (cross country, basketball, and soccer), hardly eating, and staying up until one o'clock in the morning to do homework. My legs started failing on me and it was incredibly hard to keep up. After this cross country season, I decided it was time to cut down to two sports: soccer and basketball. It was weird having a break in the fall, or somewhat of a break because I was still playing soccer that season as well. It was something that I wasn't used to, though. I got bored.

My sister is an example of singling yourself to one sport. She went into high school and didn't want to play volleyball at all and by her sophomore year she decided basketball was too much so she quit that as well. She was able to only focus on soccer and nothing else. Because of this, she got a lot better and faster and stronger in soccer.

The difference between my experience in sports and hers was I was playing to have fun and she was playing to go somewhere. I didn't have the mental focus to only play one sport, I loved them all. Although I was passionate about soccer, I was also passionate about basketball and the other two sports. She wanted to go division one in soccer. She had a goal in her mind and did what she needed to do to get to that goal. I had the memories of being a part of five different teams in my high school years. I have a memory from every sport and every season I had something new to look forward to. I didn't end up where my sister did though, because my time was split between multiple sports.

I know my sister wouldn't have it any other way. She loved soccer more than anything else in this world. She was very good at it. She ended up going to Indiana State University on a soccer scholarship. She ended up breaking many records for her high school team, and being the star. She reached her full potential, or at least got very close to it because she completely dedicated herself to that sport.

I, also, wouldn't have it any other way. I got to experience a little bit of everything, and I enjoyed all of it. Every season I had something new to look forward to. I was the most in shape I had ever been in my life from the sprints, long distance, and weight training all combined. I never peaked, though. I never reached what I really could have been in basketball or soccer because I was always focused on something else in the off season. This didn't matter to me, though, because my heart was truly in every sport that I played. When I didn't come back for cross country my junior year, I did start to focus more on soccer. This was when I started to get burnt out. It was too much and I started to not feel the same. If I would've played a fall sport, I honestly don't think I would have been burnt out on soccer. I would've been dying waiting for the season to start.

So, if you have a kid who is extremely athletic, or if you are that kid who is extremely athletic, ask yourself what your goal is. Are you playing these sports to have fun and experience high school or are you looking to go to a division one school and be extremely competitive? Do you truly have a passion for all the sports you play, or do you dread going to the practices and games of one of them? Are you the type of person that would get bored or burnt out only playing one sport or do you love that one sport enough to where you will never lose interest in it? No matter what decision you make, if its to cut out all the sports except one or play them all, you won't regret it.

Cover Image Credit: The Eagle's Eye

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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If You've Been Friends With The Same Girls Since High School, You're Not Friends, You're Sisters

It's true when they say you'll know who your real friends are after graduating high school.

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We all say we will stay in touch after graduation, but we don't. And that's not a bad thing at all. Of course, everyone gets busy as we all transition into that college lifestyle. We make new friends and we change our priorities as well as our own character. We naturally grow apart and that's just life.

The people I did stay in touch with were the ones who shared similar values as me. Among the four of us, family and education were all we truly cared about and we didn't make time for distractions. What we described as "distractions" go along the lines of partying and relationships. Especially since this is our first year and maybe, later on, we can look at those distractions as something worthwhile but at this time in our lives, we aren't concerned about making time for that.

I still have other friends back home but I only met up with my closest friends who made time to meet up. Every girl has an inner squad of friends that they'll always tell everything to. These girls are essentially your bridesmaids. They'll be in your lives for a very long time.

I'm the only one from our group that went out of state for school in New York whereas most of my friends stayed in Virginia. I thought I'd never really talk to most of the people I went to high school with just because I lived far away now and focused on schoolwork. But I was most excited to see my friends who always had my back, who are always ready to lend a hand, who got me through the struggles of high school. I did not get to see some of my friends due to traveling and leaving for school early. May, MJ, and Bee made time to have a girls night out.

The first night, we went to the movies to watch "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse." Of course, it was raining and we were stuck in traffic so we missed about 20 minutes of the beginning and chose seats right in the middle of the aisle, annoying the packed J row. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you must!

The Thursday morning after, we went to Tyson's Corner mall and browsed through the different stores. They helped me find the correct shade of foundation at Sephora because I don't know much about makeup. May convinced MJ and me to try sushi. I never really liked any seafood or the smell of fish, let alone eating raw fish! I attempted to try sushi when I was 11-years-old, but I couldn't swallow it down. Instead, I gagged it into a napkin.

May says it's probably because it wasn't made fresh and this time, it'll be tasty. We tried the California roll, the scorpion, and shrimp tempura, all cooked inside. Baby steps. My favorite was the California roll and I want to actually go out and try more sushi. It surprised me more than I expected.

Saturday evening, we went out to eat at a Turkish restaurant where I ordered a dish that I thought was a gyro wrap but ended up being a gigantic beef patty. I don't think I've eaten this much in one sitting EVER. We were all in a blissful meat coma. But we managed to still go to Magnolia Dessert Bar to try a green tea waffle cake and ice cream. And of course, to commemorate this day, we all went into their small but well-decorated bathroom to take pictures. We tried our best given the dim light.

My friends already headed back to school. I didn't realize how much I missed spending time with them. I wish we could have all gone to the same school and been suitemates. High school and college friends are different. May, MJ, and Bee, I've known them more than five years and I miss our conversations and stories. Coming back home to them gave me a sense of nostalgia. My college friends are AMAZING, but the girls I grew up with, my sisters, will always hold a special place in my heart.

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