As the high school basketball season winds to a close and spring sports commence, the bulk of athletes from the winter are moving into the offseason.
For the rest, the next athletic calendar is already in action.
In a time of increased specialization in sports, some athletes are bucking the trend. North Hall’s Ty Smith, for one, has moved straight from the Trojans basketball team to playing goalkeeper on the soccer team. The transition can be a tough one for Smith and all athletes like him.
“One thing that multisport athletes might face is the overlapping of sports,” Smith said. “Playing basketball in the winter and then soccer in the spring, most of the time it tends to overlap. Another thing would be school work, trying to stay caught up in school and trying not to get too far behind.”
Flowery Branch’s Caroline Wysocki recently made the same transition. She went from leading the Lady Falcons basketball team to the Class 4A semifinals, to helping get the soccer team to a 4-3 record early in the year.
Wysocki said that playing both sports does present physical challenges. It also takes some work assimilating to the soccer team’s chemistry, after they’ve been working together for months.
“When I come there (soccer), it’s a big difference since I’m taking over another spot,” she said. “It’s just a little bit of change in the middle of the season.”
Because of these challenges, as well as the perceived benefits of specializing earlier to get ahead for the next level, athletes like Smith and Wysocki are becoming more scarce. When many of your competitors have focused on one sport for several years, it can also be hard to keep up.
Still, Wysocki said there are benefits to pursuing a more diverse athletic career.
“Number 1, it keeps you in shape,” she said. “One other thing is that your vision on the court helps your vision on the field. My vision on the basketball court translates over to the soccer field. I think that helps me a lot.”
Smith has also seen the health benefits that go along with playing multiple sports. However, he takes more enjoyment from the extra community involvement that goes along with being a part of multiple teams.
“I’m always staying involved in the school, and just being part of a team and building friendships, meeting new people,” he said. “Things like that.”
It’s a trend that has its positives as well as its negatives. But, according to Smith, playing for multiple teams is an experience anyone could gain from.
“I think that one thing kids lose when they just play one sport is definitely meeting new people and getting around different groups of people that share the common interest of playing that sport,” Smith said. “A benefit would also be you’re all the time around people that want to get better with you. They also have the common goal of wanting to win, making friendships and being part of a team.”