What You Need to Know About Your Future on the Field: Advice for Successful Multiple Sporting from Former ODP Coach Jim Winslow and Aspire Soccer Consulting & Resources

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The crowd is cheering your name as the clock runs out! The match concludes and you are once more proclaimed as the conquering hero! You stand proudly in your sweat-drenched school jersey surrounded by your adoring teammates. Now you say – I’m off to my next sport where I’ll be awesome & equally heralded by even more fans!”

Now, back to reality; High School sports are exciting and fun. Good athletes often play many sports and spend every minute being shuttled from one sport to the next. Lots of play time; lots of press; lots of success. College athletics will present new and different challenges, but first you must make the team. If you’re a middle or high school student athlete with aspirations to play at the college level, you need to carefully consider the pros and cons of multiple sporting.

Becoming a Division 1 college athlete comes with a unique set of demands. Fitness pressure, high commitment, and minimal study time are all stresses athletes face.  Multiple sport athletes face a rigorous lifestyle which can develop them into exceptionally dedicated athletes and students—but is there a point when you have to limit your multiple sporting options to make an elite college team?

Striker FV Soccer Coach and Former ODP Soccer Coach Jim Winslow and Aspire Soccer Consulting and Resources offer up some advice to young multiple sport athletes on how and when to start making commitment decisions to advance their athletic careers.

ASC: For athletes who hope to play a collegiate sport, when would you suggest they narrow their sporting choices to be competitive in college?

JW: There are a variety of competitive levels in college. After freshman year in high school, athletes should consider paring down their choices to no more than 2 sports. Athletes hoping to compete at the D1 level generally choose to single-sport after 9th grade.

ASC: What advice do you have for multiple sport athletes to find a healthy balance? 

JW: Finding the right athletic and scholastic balance for an athlete starts with a frank discussion between the player and coaches. Athletes need downtime for physical and emotional recovery. High school athletes are students first. Parents must deftly protect dreams and guard priorities.

ASC: What are the advantages of multiple- sporting?

JW: Multiple sport athletes are happier and healthier athletes. A rest from the grind of one sport can have a psychological advantage as well as a physical advantage in a second sport. Additionally, multiple sport athletes often have fewer overuse injuries as most sports require different groups of muscles and motion.  These athletes also tend to grow more in their sporting season than athletes that play year round. Some sports such as cross country running and soccer require similar motions. These sports are less complimentary than others, and as a result are more likely to result in overuse injuries. Lastly, there is a social benefit for athletes who play multiple sports. They are more likely to change and expand social groups, which is often welcome during the high school years when cliques form. Female athletes struggle more in this area, so having multiple teams and friend groups can be a great social benefit.

ASC: What about the challenges that multiple sport athletes face? 

JW: The disadvantages of multiple sporting may include schedule stress, pressure from coaches, and exhaustion as athletes shuttle from event to event. Limits must be set to ensure athletes get proper rest and downtime. Some athletes see slowed athletic progress when they get spread too thin from juggling excessive demands. Adding additional work-outs to overextended athletes is inadvisable. Psychologically, the multiple sport athletes can suffer from anxiety with little free time for friends and enjoyment. Additionally, pressure from coaches can be oppressive for an athlete that is trying to please many people and teams. Overuse directly contributes to injuries.


About Coach Jim Winslow

coachCoach Winslow’s knowledge and expertise as the Strength and Conditioning Coach at D1 University of Utah and his process understanding from a lifetime of athletic involvement has contributed to the success of his players. A multiple sport athlete himself, Coach Winslow played 4 years of high school soccer and 4 years of basketball while also participating in track and volleyball. Coach Winslow played soccer at Miami of Ohio where he earned his degree in Exercise Science. He was Assistant Head Coach at Iowa State and also worked as State ODP Coach in 3 different states (Iowa, Utah, and Illinois). Coach Jim Winslow was on the 2014 Regional ODP Staff. He is currently Club Coach at Strikers Fox Valley and Head Coach of St. Francis High School. St Francis claimed a State Championship Title in 2012 during his inaugural year.

​About Aspire Soccer Consulting and Resources 

Aspire was formed to advocate for student athletes and their families seeking advice and personal direction throughout college selection and athletic recruitment process. The old adage “you don’t know what you don’t know” is valid. How do I advance the college recruitment process without derailing it?
We measure our success by the individual care we provide to every young student athlete. Athletes need guidance and wise counsel to make informed decisions about the right major, the right school, the right opportunity, and the right soccer program. Everyone wins when strategic planning places athletes on a trajectory for success on the pitch and in life. Contact us today at 630-740-8741 or email Aspire2play@gmail.com to start preparing for your collegiate path.

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