For The Rhode Island Multi Sport Athlete – It’s Not Good-Bye Baseball, It’s See You Later

I read this announcement the other day on the RIIL (Rhode Island Interscholastic League) Twitter page and thought “Wow, it’s fall sports time already?” Although there is still competitive baseball games, tournaments, and events happening this late in August, the transition for many Rhode Island multi sport athletes from catcher’s gear to shoulder pads is just about complete. Personally, I love the multi sport concept and benefitted greatly by playing multiple sports as a youth growing up in North Kingstown. And with the increased indoor training facility options here in Rhode Island, the multi sport athlete can simply say “See You Later” to baseball while competing in fall and winter sports.

In an article published by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), “Students who play multiple sports have a reduced risk of overuse injuries, are able to learn from multiple coaches, participate in cross-training which leads to better athleticism, have better mental development and teamwork skills, and have a reduced chance of burnout in sports.” Think of an outstanding outfielder on your baseball team. How they can make an athletic move on a flyball hit way, way over their head. Sprint and run the baseball down and make a leaping catch just before the outfield fences. The crowd cheers, the pitcher raises his hand to say “Thanks for saving my a$$” and the game is saved. That outfielder may well have benefitted from working out that previous summer and fall as a wide receiver on his local youth or scholastic football team catching post patterns 30 yards down the field. Or as defender or sweeper on a soccer team, chasing down a long pass from midfield towards his goalie. Different sports, different goals, similar footwork, similar muscle group movements – better athleticism.

Here is another quote from the article – “The list of high-profile professional athletes who played multiple sports in high school rather than focusing on one sport year-round includes the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Mauer, Bo Jackson, Alex Rodriguez and John Elway among numerous others.” Locally here, we have seen the multi sport athlete thrive on the baseball diamond, the soccer fields, the tracks, the football fields, and beyond. Some recent names that come to mind include Bishop Hendricken High School’s Brandyn Durand and North Kingstown High School’s TJ Gormley as well as athletes from my era (not that long ago, SHHHH) like Frank Newsome and Manny DaSilva. Elite athletes who successfully navigated the multi sport path in their student athletic careers here in Rhode Island. And were/are all really, really good baseball players!

So, to all the pitchers and catchers and shortstops and left fielders who have traded in the gloves and bats for football helmets, shin guards, and cross country running shoes – I say good luck in all your athletic endeavors this fall. Baseball will be there for you when you are ready to come back to it, even if it is just for a few swings or a side session at a local training facility or a low key practice in the outfield on a chilly October Sunday afternoon.

And for those of you still playing baseball this August and into the fall months of September and beyond, I will continue to see you at the ball fields. Think about the quote from the NFHS – students who participate in multiple sports have “a reduced chance of burnout” in sports like baseball. Parents talk to your kids, kids talk to your parents. The goal for many baseball organizations is safety and participation not just this season, but for many seasons to follow. Have a great day everyone on whatever field you are participating on!!!

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The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.

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