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Athletically multitasking: Student athletes balance school, two sports in one season

“Multi-sport athlete”, a word that describes an athlete who participates in two or three sports a year and majority of them typically play one sport each in the fall, winter, and spring seasons. However, in an article by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), since the 1990s, a new trend has evolved in which multi-sport high school athletes across the country are playing two sports in the same season – Sierra Canyon being one of the schools in the new trend.

“Student-athletes who are able to successfully balance their sports along with all their other interests and responsibilities stand the greatest chance of benefiting from this type of sport experience,” NFHS said in the article.

According to Sierra Canyon Athletic Director Rock Pillsbury, students participating in two sports in a season have more numbers in the spring season due to the variety of sports offered in spring. Pillsbury also expressed the problem of communication among the coaches but supports students participating in multiple sports in the same season.

“It takes a little more coordination between me and the coaches because I have to be careful about not to schedule volleyball matches on the same day as cross country and stuff like that. I’m willing to everything and anything and to make the experience for a student better,” Pillsbury said.

This year, eight Sierra Canyon School athletes participated in two sports in the same season: four in the fall sports season, three in the winter sports season, and one in the spring season. For these athletes, time management and communication are important factors in participating in both of their sports. All of them have had to miss some practices for one of their sports due to games or practices for their other sport. As a freshman on the cheer, soccer, and softball teams, freshman Liza Gill, cites communication between her coaches as key factors for when she’s expected to attend practices and games for each of her sports.

“As long as I let my coaches know in advance when I can and can’t come to each of their practices, I’m fine. However, I am expected to be at all soccer games and as a result, and I have had to be late or miss cheering for a few basketball games,” Gill said.

In addition, most important about doing two sports in a season is time management. Two-sport athletes in the same season must be able to balance time between school, homework, sports, extracurriculars, and social activities. Like their peers, each one of theses athletes have 24 hours of time and must manage it wisely. For senior Matt Gaskin, who plays both baseball and golf, he manages both sports by going to games on days he has a game for one sport and practice for the other. If it’s a day where he has practices for both sports, Gaskin goes to baseball practice and also tries to do his work when at school.

“I’ve been doing it for two years, I do all of my homework at school and at home and wait for after practice to do work,” Gaskin said.

Two-sport athletes in the same season miss a lot of school for meets and games. The amount of school they miss during season depends on how far the location of their games is. Science teacher Joseph Pflieger, who is also the assistant cross country coach, expressed that the athletes on his team who do two sports in the same season are good students who are responsible for their missing work.

“Typically, students doing both sports are higher caliber students in that they’ll be responsible for their missed work. I’m not necessarily concerned with them academically as far as getting work or keeping up with the class since they are strong academic students and our league schedule is small,” Pflieger said.

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