The Best Crossover Sports for Soccer and Why
An unfortunate trend across America is the growth of the single-sport athlete. As parents and young athletes are doing everything they can to get a competitive advantage over others and get college scholarships, they are focusing exclusively on their main sport. This problem is not as widespread in soccer as it is in other sports like basketball, but it worries many college coaches, athletic directors, medical professionals, and professional athletes.
In fact, many of the players on the United States world championship soccer team were multi-sport athletes in high school including Abby Wambach, Morgan Brian, Amy Rodriquez, and Lauren Holiday. They and other professional athletes have spoken openly about how playing multiple sports helped them become better players, decrease the risk of injury, and help them find long term success.
No matter how good your son or daughter may be at soccer or how committed he is to the sport it is always a good idea to get him involved in other sports during the offseason. If you are both hoping that your child can one day get a soccer scholarship, remember that most college coaches prefer two and even three sport athletes. Here are some of the best crossover sports for soccer.
Though Tennis may seem completely different from soccer, it actually crosses over very well. The speed and quickness you develop in tennis is extremely useful, and the anticipation and reading of opponents will help your child be a better soccer player too.
While swimming won’t develop much of a young player’s ball skills or coordination, it’s an extremely great sport for developing endurance and stamina. These qualities are crucial for soccer players, and swimming will help your children develop the core strength and cardiovascular fitness they need to compete at a higher level.
There are a number of similarities between soccer and lacrosse, and that’s why it’s a popular crossover sport for soccer players. Because of the similar layout of the field, young soccer players can improve their team play and vision when they play lacrosse. It’s also great for maintaining fitness and developing stamina offseason.
Though basketball doesn’t get quite as much notice as a crossover sport as lacrosse does, it’s also a popular choice for soccer players, especially female soccer players. Abby Wambach is just one of many professional players who used to play basketball competitively. Many players say that the passing and team play in basketball is very similar and crosses over easily into soccer. Players also learn how to perfectly time jumps, how to follow the ball in the air, how to anticipate trajectory of the ball, and how to use their height and size to their advantage.
Another great crossover sport is volleyball. Like basketball, it helps players develop the vertical aspects and their air game. Learning how to quickly track and respond to balls in the air is a specific skill, and it must be practiced. Volleyball can also improve jumping ability, coordination, and spatial awareness—key skills for a soccer player. In addition, the sport requires that teammates are able to quickly communicate and coordinate with each other. Team play is the basis of soccer, and volleyball can help a player improve in a lot more ways than you may think.
There are so many different benefits to playing multiple sports. Not only will it keep your kids busy and active during the off season, it will also help them become more creative and well-rounded players. After the end of the next season, you should encourage your son or daughter to try another sport. Whether it’s one of the ones listed above or something else, you won’t regret it.
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