Tri-sport athletes adapt during transition to different sports

One of the privileges high school students have is the freedom to play a variety of sports. Since many athletes tend to stick to one sport, it is rare for people to commit to three sports.

Last year, there were a total of 1,311 single sport athletes. Out of those, there were only seven varsity tri sport athletes. While playing a sport brings a host of challenges to student-athletes,  those challenges are magnified. As a result, tri-sport athletes often struggle balancing sports and school throughout the year.

Travis Allen (12) has been participating in football, wrestling, and track and field throughout high school. Allen decided to become a tri-sport athlete because of his competitiveness to become better.

“Whether it be in the weight room, classroom, or on the field, I’ve always had that desire to be the best,” Allen said.

Another reason Allen became a tri-sport athlete was because he believed in staying active and fit.

“Playing three sports is tough, but I’ll never back down [from] a challenge,” Allen said. “If you have the chance to make your school proud of you, why not take it?”

Athletes must cope with balancing school work with practices, training and games. Tri-sport athletes go through these conditions for the whole school year which can become a challenge. But, many athletes say that personal skills are developed in the process.

“I’ve learned that self discipline is one of the biggest keys to success,” Allen said. “Coaches can only do so much for you, it’s all up to you and how determined you are that ultimately decides your success.”

Another challenging factor of being a tri-sport athlete is making the transition from one sport to another between seasons. Luckily for Allen, all of the sports he plays correlate each other because of the similar techniques and training they require.

“Wrestling helps a lot with football because there’s a lot of tackling and being more aggressive,” Allen said. “From wrestling to track and field, I feel like there’s not much of a [difficult] transition for me since there’s a lot of conditioning for both.”

Although being a multi sport athlete can be rough, it has opened lot’s of new opportunities for Allen.

“Coming in to high school I was kind of quiet and shy, but after playing sports I soon realized how many great people I’ve met and relationships I built along the way,” Allen said. “Being able to connect with them showed me how much in common I had with them and our connections turned into friendships.”

On the other hand, Lauren Kim (11), another tri-sport athlete, plays both on land and water. She has been on the golf, water polo and swim teams since her freshman year. To Kim, her knees help guide her for every sport. Initially, Kim aimed for basketball to be her main sport throughout high school and even college. However, Kim’s weak knees forced her to quit the sport and take on something new.

“I know my knee isn’t going to hold on much longer, so I just decided to try everything now,” Kim said. “Personally, I do it to see how far I can go with my knee.”

Kim found interest in golf, water polo and swim, and decided to stick with all three. She said that shifting from golf to water sports challenged her.

“I [always] die the first week [of the transition],” Kim said. “In the beginning, my swim speed is really bad so I have to condition to get back into shape, and I think that’s the hardest part.”

Nevertheless, being a tri-sport athlete brought Kim many new opportunities and memories with lots of teammates.

“You get to meet new people through each sport and you get to share different interests with other people,” Kim said. “Each sport taught me teamwork and leadership in different ways and it allowed me to appreciate each sport differently.”

By playing a different sport every season, Kim realized the crucial techniques and demands for each sport. For instance, she said that both swim and golf required patience and stamina while water polo was more physically demanding and that team work was essential.

However, all sports required some kind of cooperation within a team. She said that this helped develop leadership and cooperation among her teammates.

“You learn through sports that leadership is not just telling people what to do but the ability to work with others effectively while being able to pursue your vision of success,” Kim said.