Watch: Pete Carroll highlights the vital importance of a multi-sport past

The best advice we can offer young athletes is to be as flexible as possible. Simply put, the more positions and sports you play, the more interesting you will be in the eyes of coaches, scouts and analysts.

Some of the greatest athletes of all time thrived playing multiple sports, including Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders. Others, like Michael Jordan, dominated a sport but he never got caught up in others. Still, it’s hard to overstate the value of having cross-sport experience for any athlete.

In many cases, a skill set from one sport can be easily transferred to another. To name just a few examples, route running for a receiver can be fine-tuned by moving without the ball while playing hoops, an accurate throw from shortstop to first base can help quarterbacks, and boxing out opponents for tackles can help for tight ends to learn to catch high spots in the end zone. There is also evidence to suggest that playing different sports can help reduce injuries associated with excessive use.

Few in the business know all this better than Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who has a long history of drafting players who have experience playing more than one sport.

Speaking earlier this week at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Carroll called having multi-sport experience “vital” to recruiting prospects — a lesson that applies to any and all high school athletes. I’m watching.

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