The potential decline of the three-sport athlete in high school athletics has been a hot topic in sports lately. Specializing in one sport in order avoid injuries and improve chances of landing a college scholarship are two factors that have many top athletes limiting themselves to a single sport.
Consolidation of school districts is also limiting some athletes from participating in multiple sports during their high school careers.
While specializing is one sport may lead to increased college scholarships offers for some, many coaches prefer student-athletes that are well-rounded.
“I want them out there playing different sports and representing their school,” Scot Brewer, head football coach in Troy, Ohio, said. “I want my kids playing basketball or wrestling in the winter and I want my kids playing baseball or running track in the spring.”
Here’s a look at what two local athletes feel about the three-sport debate.
Former Athlete: Justin Klingman- Abington Heights (Class of 2011)
Q: What sports did you play?
A: Baseball, basketball, and soccer
Q: Why didn’t you choose to focus on just one sport?
A: I played all three growing up and my parents always stressed competing, but also having fun. I think all sports blend together well and help with each other.
Q: Do you wish you had focused on just one sport?
A: No. You only have a certain amount of years to do it, so the more sports you can play, the better.
Q: What was your favorite sport and what were you best at?
A: I didn’t have one particular favorite. It was nice to always have a new season to fall back on. My best was probably soccer. I was named as an All-Region player.
Q: Did playing multiple sports hurt your chance to play at the collegiate level?
A: No. I’m playing basketball for The University of Scranton. I don’t think playing three sports in high school hurts you in any way. I think it only leads to more opportunities.
Current Athlete: Evan Maxwell- Abington Heights basketball
Q: Why did you choose the sport you did?
A: I was always tall so I was pretty much made for it.
Q: Do you miss playing sports you have given up?
A: No. I played little league baseball, but have grown to like basketball a lot more.
Q: Has focusing on one sport helped your chances of earning a college scholarship?
A: Yes. It was pretty much the work I put in during the summer that got me to where I am now (a full basketball scholarship to Division 1 Liberty University).
Q: Are you playing your favorite sport or the sport that will best help get you to college?
A: It’s the best of both worlds. I’ve always loved the sport and realized I’d be able to go to school for free.
Q: When did you choose to focus on a single sport and why?
A: Basketball has always been my favorite thing to do. Growing up, I spent every day in the park during the summer working on my game.
To see the complete in depth story on the death of the three-sport athlete, check out this week’s edition of The Abington Journal.