NFHS Voice: Multi-Sport Paves QB's Way
February 10, 2020
By Karissa Niehoff
NFHS Executive Director
On football’s grandest stage earlier this month, its latest star attraction not only delivered another virtuoso performance but demonstrated the best career path to success.
In leading the Kansas City Chiefs to victory in Super Bowl LIV, quarterback Patrick Mahomes brought to an end another tremendous year of football at all levels and became the latest – and perhaps best – example of the benefits of playing multiple sports during high school.
In the week prior to the Super Bowl, Mahomes talked about his ascension to the top of the football world. Despite the opportunity to focus solely on baseball as his father had done, Mahomes rejected sport specialization. Instead, he spoke about how playing multiple sports in high school paved the way for his success.
The top performer on the grandest stage of the sport, Mahomes made it to the top of the football mountain by NOT playing football year-round. Had he chosen to specialize in one sport during his high school days in east Texas, Mahomes might never had made it to NFL since, as he noted in the week prior to the Super Bowl, he was “a baseball player that was playing football.”
Mahomes believes the skills he learned as a shortstop in baseball and as a point guard in basketball helped him more as a quarterback on the football field than if he had chosen to devote his entire energies to football.
His uncanny ability to throw passes from various angles unlike any of today’s perfect-form pocket quarterbacks? He gained those skills on the baseball field. His ability to throw lasers to his intended receivers without looking? He learned those skills on the basketball court at Whitehouse High School in Texas.
His trek to the top of the football world supports our belief that playing multiple sports within the education-based structure – as opposed to a single-sport focus in a non-school program – is the best route to future success.
Mahomes experienced the benefits of playing multiple sports – better leadership and teamwork skills from cross-training, reduced risk of burnout in one sport, a variety of experiences from involvement with different sports and teams, reduced risk of overuse injuries in one sport and exposure to a variety of coaching styles.
Many parents believe that in order for their son or daughter to earn a college scholarship and eventually play at the professional level, they have to specialize in one sport year-round. This pattern has led to the proliferation of non-school programs and coaches, many of which stray from the education-based focus of high school sports.
While there are a few who achieve elite status in a sport, the majority of people who participate do not. We believe the multiple-sport path demonstrated by Mahomes is the best route to attaining athletic success and lifelong enjoyment of sports.
Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff is in her second year as executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is the first female to head the national leadership organization for high school athletics and performing arts activities and the sixth full-time executive director of the NFHS, which celebrated its 100th year of service during the 2018-19 school year. She previously was executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for seven years.
This Week in High School Sports: 3/21/23
By Jon Ross
MHSAA Director of Broadcast Properties
March 21, 2023
This final edition for the 2022-23 school year reviews all four MHSAA Girls Basketball Finals and highlights some of the top performances from Boys Basketball Regional play.
The 5-minute program each week includes feature stories from MHSAA.com or network affiliates, along with "Be the Referee," a 60-second look at the fine art of officiating.
"This Week in High School Sports" is powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury.
Listen to this week's show by Clicking Here.
March 15: Ice Hockey Finals review, Lower Peninsula Boys Swimming & Diving Finals highlights - Listen
March 8: Individual Wrestling Finals review, Competitive Cheer Finals highlights - Listen
March 1: Midland heroes, Team Wrestling Finals review - Listen
Feb. 22: Basketball Districts begin, Finals cap Upper Peninsula swimming & diving season - Listen
Feb. 15: Hockey tournament changes, MHSAA social media - Listen
Feb. 8: Winter Postseason Starts, Scholar-Athlete Award - Listen
Feb. 1: Kent City coach Jill Evers, "Officials Appreciation Week" - Listen
Jan. 25: Historic hoops wins, Michigan's national ranking in sports participation - Listen
Jan. 18: Brad Bush joins MHSAA, Al DeMott sets coaching record - Listen
Jan. 4: Winter Championships, Officials Recruitment - Listen
Nov. 23: 8-Player Football Finals, Lower Peninsula Girls Swimming & Diving Finals, Volleyball Finals - Listen
Nov. 18: Concussion Myths, Navea Gauthier's record-setting Shelby volleyball season - Listen
Nov. 11: Lower Peninsula Cross Country, Boys Soccer Finals review - Listen
Nov. 2: Football Playoffs Week 1 notables, Fall 2022 championships and broadcasts - Listen
Oct. 26: Football Playoffs pairings selection, Upper Peninsula Cross Country Finals - Listen
Oct. 19: Sunday Selection Show, Lower Peninsula Girls Golf & Boys Tennis Finals - Listen
Oct. 12: 25th Women In Sports Leadership Conference highlights - Listen
Oct. 5: Upper Peninsula Girls Tennis Finals champions, Rockford's Anna Tracey - Listen
Sept. 28: MHSAA Sportsmanship Summits return, Owosso's Macy Irelan - Listen
Sept. 21: MHSAA/Farm Bureau Insurance Scholar-Athlete Awards, Marquette's Maddy Stern - Listen
Sept. 14: MHSAA record books, Detroit Renaissance's Kaila Jackson - Listen
Sept. 7: Sports Participation rebounding, Paw Paw's Paige Miller - Listen
Aug. 31: Michigan Power Ratings and soccer seeding, Fenton's Gracie Olsen - Listen
Aug. 24: Redesigned MHSAA.com, key dates and how to watch football in 2022 - Listen