David Shaw: You don't see as many kids playing 3 sports, but we'd love that

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Friday March 24, 2017


David Shaw doesn’t like the growing trend of youth sport specialization, but he admits it’s helping some kids.

WatchESPN broadcasted Stanford’s Pro Day on Thursday, which has become one of the most popular in the NFL. Shaw was asked about players becoming bigger and more athletic than ever and how that's happened.

“There’s some good and bad,” he said. “It’s good because the game is bigger, faster, stronger, and it’s more exciting. College football has never been better. It’s exciting, a phenomenal thing to watch. The ratings are (high).

“The hard part is, a lot of it’s happened because kids are specializing earlier. You don’t see as many guys playing three sports, which is what a lot of us love. We love guys that play basketball, play baseball, wrestle, do something else outside of football that cross-trains them. It’s great to stay competitive all year round.”

Now, the offseason is more training and 7-on-7, which Shaw really doesn’t like, compared to competing in a different sport.

“You’re seeing more guys train in the offseason for football,” Shaw said. “You’ve got guys 14, 15 years old training for football as opposed to playing other sports. That’s not necessarily a positive, in my opinion, but at the same time, college football and the NFL have kind of benefitted from it, because they’re getting finely-tuned athletes at a younger age.”

Specialization has become a hot issue in youth sports. As it relates to football, playing baseball helps players judge balls in the air. Basketball helps body control. Mike Leach loves soccer players because of footwork.

But sport specialization is becoming its own business now.

“You’ve got youth quarterback coaches working not just with high school kids, but some are specializing with 6th grade, 7th grade kids and really training them, and they’re getting paid to do it,” Shaw said. “It’s a job, a vocation now. You see these guys popping up all over the nation to train people to play this great game of football.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.