Christian McCaffrey: Playing multiple sports is ‘worth it’

July 17, 2017 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
NFL running back Christian McCaffrey was a four-sport athlete in high school, something he believes was critical to his development as a pro football player.

McCaffrey, who was taken by the Carolina Panthers with the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft, made an appearance last week on the Dan Patrick Show. The former Stanford University tailback played basketball, football, baseball and ran track at his Colorado high school, and he said those experiences ultimately strengthened his abilities on the gridiron.

“I’m not a fan of locking in to one sport,” McCaffrey said. “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.

“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.”

Ed McCaffrey, Christian’s father, was a three-time Super Bowl champion wideout, most notably during the 1997 and 1998 seasons with the Denver Broncos. Christian’s mother, Lisa, was a college soccer player. found that 94% of first-round picks in this year’s NFL Draft played multiple sports.  

“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,” McCaffrey continued. “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.”

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2 thoughts on “Christian McCaffrey: Playing multiple sports is ‘worth it’”

  1. This is a great Article, I didn’t play professional sports but I did play multiple sports in both high school and college. I am currently coaching multiple sports in high school and I have had several parents asking me when should their child select one sport. I tell them that you will use different muscles per sport; if you able to manager school work. A college will see you if you have the talent. The sport I like most was baseball, I went to college on football, and ran track.

  2. Sad reality is that it’s way too difficult and/or expensive today for most kids to play multiple sports. Coaches usually want off-season commitment which interferes with in-season sports, and it is the rare athlete who can perform at a high varsity level in 2, let alone 3 sports (especially major sports like football, basketball, baseball, & soccer) without getting discouraged or squeezed on time and/or scheduling, or simply exhaustion. Also, unlike 30+, or even 20 years ago, there is usually a fee or fundraising requirements which makes most families pick/choose one sport, simply due to cost (and having more than one child can really become cost prohibitive.) The multiple-sport athlete of yesteryear has really gone the way of the dinasaur and it’s too bad because the best athletes usually make the best players, regardless of which sport.

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