Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey says it’s ‘worth it’ for kids to play multiple sports

Christian McCaffrey might seem like one of those guys that was always destined to be a football player. He’s 5-foot-11, 205 pounds. His father, Ed McCaffrey, was a 6-foot-5, 215-pound wide receiver that played in the NFL for 13 seasons. His mother, Lisa, was a college soccer player. His older brother played college football. His younger brothers are both football players, too.

But while McCaffrey may have been destined for this, he didn’t always just play football. And he thinks the fact that he played other sports benefited him along the way.

“I’m not a fan of locking in to one sport,” McCaffrey said during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show. “I just think it’s so important as a kid to venture off and do multiple things. And it’s so tough nowadays too because a lot of these baseball teams are all year-round and the only you’re going to get playing time is if you’re there all year-round so you can’t play any other sports. And to me, I look at what basketball and track and baseball did for my football career was more than anything you’re training different muscles, you’re training your mind, and just being a part of multiple teams you learn a lot of life lessons.

“I look at the lessons I learned in basketball — quickness, agility, leaping ability, hand-eye coordination — all that stuff I use in football all the time. In track, obviously, linear speed. And so just being able to do multiple things is extremely important. It’s worth it as a kid to go through that.”

McCaffrey’s just the latest person to extol the virtues of playing more than one sport when you’re a kid. Earlier this week, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said that he wishes he’d played soccer growing up, so that he could have better footwork than he does now.

A recent study showed that 30 of this year’s 32 first-round picks were multi-sport athletes as children, while 88 percent of Division I athletes played two or three sports growing up, and 70 percent did not specialize in a sport until after they turned 12 years old

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