I received the below question this week:
“Yesterday, after practice, a parent of a player (RHP/OF) of mine
approached me with a question. His question was whether his son who’s
15 yrs old, besides baseball can practice water polo.
We are in the off-season here and started baseball practice about 2
weeks ago. I told him that, according to me, you can put some stress
on this kid’s shoulder/rotator cuff.
So, my question to you is: Can this player do both water polo and
baseball at the same time?”
I encourage my students to play as many sports as they would like. Hey, we don’t know, nor does the athlete know, if they are good at something until they experience it. I don’t want to limit anyone’s experiences in life. Of course baseball is my favorite sport and I make a living teaching pitchers. However, who knows if this student will truly excel in water polo unless he gives it a shot. My opinion is that no matter what sport a child is “dedicated ” to, other sports will only enhance their ability to be a leader, be more athletically inclined, be more accepting to others, be more diverse and agile and more importantly stay in shape for the best sport, baseball. 🙂
I’m all for playing multiple sports even all through high school. I think it’s crazy that some coaches are telling players to only play one sport and they won’t be good at it if they don’t focus solely on that sport. That, in my mind, is crazy talk and I’m sure will cause some debate however, that is what I believe.
In this specific case, the coach should inform the athlete of the possible risk of the sport of water polo and how it can injure his shoulder. It’s not just about throwing the water polo ball correctly that will decrease injury; when you throw a ball that can be blocked your arm can go from 50 mph to zero in a matter of a fraction of a second. This of course can take its toll on a shoulder. The athlete should be aware of these things and then make an informed decision whether or not he wants to play. Ultimately the decision is that of the athlete, (and his parents) but at that age kids often have a difficult time weighing out options and seeing the big picture. They need a little help sometimes seeing the big picture.
Moral of the story. Multiple sports can be great! Help students make an informed decision by bringing all options to the table. As a coach, be open to the students’ needs, wants and desires to play other sports.