Christian McCaffrey: Kids should play more than one sport

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As Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey prepares to play pro football, he has some advice for America’s youth: Play more than one sport.

“I’m not a fan of locking in to one sport,” McCaffrey told Dan Patrick on Friday. “I just think it’s so important as a kid to venture off and do multiple things. And it’s so tough nowadays too because a lot of these baseball teams are all year-round and the only you’re going to get playing time is if you’re there all year-round so you can’t play any other sports. And to me, I look at what basketball and track and baseball did for my football career was more than anything you’re training different muscles, you’re training your mind, and just being a part of multiple teams you learn a lot of life lessons.

“I look at the lessons I learned in basketball — quickness, agility, leaping ability, hand-eye coordination — all that stuff I use in football all the time. In track, obviously, linear speed. And so just being able to do multiple things is extremely important. It’s worth it as a kid to go through that.”

McCaffrey isn’t the only one who thinks that. In his new book, The Quarterback Whisperer, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians repeatedly emphasizes the importance of playing multiple sports as a kid and avoiding specialization in only one. While that may be the only way for a marginal athlete to become good enough to start on the high school team, the truly great athletes will be able to seamlessly slide from sport to sport, developing a broad range of muscles and experiencing a wide range of competitive environments.

14 responses to “Christian McCaffrey: Kids should play more than one sport

  1. Can’t agree more. NBA coach Brad Stevens, among others, have often said the same thing.

  2. I agree too.
    One thing about pro athletes, they tend to be way more coordinated than the rest of us. Its probably a lot easier for them to play multiple sports well. The rest of us have to concentrate and work hard at one sport just to compete for a spot in high school.

  3. Let the kid play what they want. 99% won’t be playing at a higher level than high school, so if they want to just play one sport or three. ..the important thing is that they’re playing because they like it.

  4. jackedupboonie says:
    Jul 15, 2017 12:26 PM
    Am I the only one that questions if this guy will be durable taking NFL level hits from his position. Might end up at receiver within 2 years.


    Yes you are. It’s not like they are going to be running this kid up the middle in the Power I formation. From day one he will be lining up all over the field. The whole point is to get him into space, not bash it between the tackles

  5. This is def true. I see so many kids playing baseball or hockey year round, ridiculous.
    I love that the national coaches association for Lacrosse has right in their mission statement that coaches will encourage all their players to play at least one other sport during the year.
    BTW, lacrosse is a great spring sport for football players( the hitting and coverage skills), scoccer (the running, passing and lol using more then your legs) and even wrestling (wrestlers make the absolute best faceoff guys).

  6. buckstalion12965 says:
    99% won’t be playing at a higher level than high school, so if they want to just play one sport or three. ..the important thing is that they’re playing because they like it.

    True, most won’t be playing at a level above high school. But in my experience, most of the kids who stick to one sport aren’t doing it because that’s how “they like it.”
    It’s because an over-involved daddy, or some club or AAU coach, or someone else has convinced them they CAN play at a higher level if only they will spend all their time on that one sport. They play it in grade school, junior high, high school, at the club level, and when they aren’t playing it they’re practicing with dad at home, or attending some expensive camp or clinic.
    They often travel weekends and throughout the summer to organized non-school events and miss out on other things in life, too.
    While certainly not an absolute, I’ve had countless conversations with younger people who say they specialized and now wish they hadn’t.
    Life lasts a long time after high school, and many realize too late that they never had a real shot at playing at a higher level. All they have left are memories, and they regret missing the opportunity to have had fun with their friends in a variety of sports.
    Even if you are good enough to keep playing, playing multiple sports is basically cross-training and can often help you in your No. 1 sport.

  7. I have seen a transformation in youth lacrosse ((k-12) over the past 10 years, and I assume the same is happening in other sports.

    High school coaches are demanding kids play for their summer teams ($$$) or they won’t make the spring team. Big summer/fall programs are convincing parents to spend ungodly sums of money so their kids can be showcased and introduced to college coaches.

    This year round nonsense is a scam. It’s all about money.

    I’ve also seen high school football coaches threaten players that they cannot play spring sports or they won’t make the team. They tell the kids they have to lift all offseason.

    I even know of one football coach that punished his lacrosse players by “making” them do heavy legs at 6am on lacrosse game days.

  8. Add Jim Harbaugh to the list of coaches saying the same thing. He’s made it a point on multiple occasions to say he prefers kids who play multiple sports.

  9. I believe the Panthers drafted the right guy for them with their first pick, as a fan I can’t wait to see this young man play..he will do wonders for the Panthers offense..

  10. I played in college, most don’t. I played every sport I could. It’s invaluable. Specialization is akin to putting all your eggs in 1 basket. It’s a shame that adults who amounted to much of nothing are collecting $ from unsuspecting parents hoping for a unicorn. Let your kids enjoy being kids…..

  11. Dr Frank Jobe said the same thing, because doing so reduces repetitive use injuries to muscles/joints that are specifically used for each sport. Mix it up!

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