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Specialization in Sports is Needed at Top Levels

Specialization in Sports is Needed at Top Levels


I hear alot of people talk about how the majority of NFL players are multi-sport athletes. I think that is great but it should also be evaluated in context. In kicking, punting, and a pitcher in baseball it is vital to specialize by the 8th or 9th grade.

Growing up I played baseball, basketball and soccer. I developed my change of direction and explosion from playing basketball and my ball striking skills from soccer. I believe you need to cross train at a young age to develop the whole athlete. I was fortunate though that in 7th grade our soccer coach at the high school, Russ Plummer, recognized that I had a rare talent. He saw talent and encouraged me to specialize in kicking.

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After training kickers for 10 years I can tell you that you need to specialize in kicking by high school. The skill is to detailed to just “wing it”. It takes training and reps to master the flight of the ball. I firmly believe that if you aren’t kicking 2-3 days a week going into your freshman year you are falling behind other kickers.

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The final aspect is the weight room. You can talk about specialization all you want but your average high school soccer player weighs more like 145-155 pounds where your star kicker weighs 185-190. You need size, strength and mass to be an elite kicker. It is possible to play soccer and be a great kicker but I am finding less guys who can do both.

My suggestion is to play soccer until after your sophomore season and then make a decision. Ask yourself…am I elite at kicking? Can I be elite? If the answer is yes than you need to dedicate your junior year to the weight room and skill development. After you earn a scholarship you can possibly play soccer your senior season. The stakes are too high to not go after your dreams and become great at kicking.

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