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Reply to "Advice on Specialization for 8th Grader"

Despite the trend and pressure to specialize today, whether it be a sport or position, I was and continue to be a firm believer in playing multiple sports, especially at that age. We bucked that trend and my son continued to play three varsity sports in high school (baseball, hockey, football).

In my opinion there are a number of benefits to the body, mind and development of real athleticism. Burn out can and does happen when you specialize too soon.

Versatility in any sport is huge as you rise in age and level of play. In my opinion, coaches recognize and want it. Not all bodies or skills sets are built for it but if you can, then it will only help to develop it.

And I couldn't agree more with others and stress a primary focus on academics. A great student who is also a ghreat/good athlete in multiple sports tells a coach a lot about a kids determination, discipline and work ethic. More importantly, it also opens doors to great schools that offer a great education and possibly money.

Son had a goal from freshman year to play sports at a HA institution. I know for certain he would not have the opportunity he has today had he not been so focused on his academics. Likewise, I know based on his feedback last night from his 1v1 meeting with his HC, that his effort, attitude and athleticism were recognized, valued and will only help get him on the field in the future.

So much can change from 8th grade to senior year in athletics that he will have no control over. Good grades are within his complete control.

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