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Multi-Sport Training Improves Athleticism

In Grant Wahl’s article about Charlie Davies, the U.S. Soccer forward injured in a car crash this week, he notes Davies’ high school wrestling background:

Wrestling is an extreme sport, training-wise, and Davies excelled, winning three New England championships at the Brooks School in North Andover, Mass., and placing third in the nation at 145 pounds during his senior year. “Wrestling was great for balance, strength and mental toughness,” Davies said. “Self-discipline is a big thing in wrestling, and that has helped me in soccer as well.”

More and more, high school sports are going year-round with players devoting the entire year to sport-specific skills, rather than general or preparatory skills.

In Secrets of Soviet Sports Fitness & Training, California State University, Fullerton professor Dr. Michael Yessis writes:

Sports Scientists behind the Iron Curtain also have found that athletes can benefit from participating in sports other than the one in which they specialize. By doing so, they can tap a broader array of physiological skills, as well as take advantage of a psychologically relaxing diversion. As a result, it’s common in Moscow and other Soviet cities for wrestlers, for example, to play 20 minutes of basketball as part of the warm-up for their day-to-day training sessions. Likewise, weightlifters often play volleyball as a companion to training in the weight room.

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