This is a mis-perception that the Gamers programs forces players to focus only on baseball and that we do not allow multi-sport athletes. This is simply not true.
At 12u-14u, >90% of our players play other sports.
At 15u and 16u, 67% of our players play other sports.
At 17u, 33% of our players play other sports.
At younger ages (pre-high school), we strongly encourage players to play other sports. It is important for them to have other sports experiences and to become better all-around athletes by playing other sports.
In high school, it becomes increasingly challenging for kids to be competitive in multiple sports, especially at larger high schools. But, we do not discourage our players from playing other sports. Whether or not to focus on baseball is a natural process that happens for each young man differently.
While we do not discourage players from playing other sports, we are, however, honest with our high school age players about the challenges of playing multiple sports:
- To play baseball at an elite level requires year-round training (or at least 9 months). This is true for other sports too. If a player elects to play two sports, he is not going to have much free time. Slacking off on academics is not a choice. So, multi-sport student athletes must sacrifice other things — like hanging out with friends, playing video games, Facebook, part-time jobs, etc… That is just reality.
- Playing another sport cannot become an excuse for not practicing and training for baseball. We have dozens of players in our program that play multiple sports at a high level AND hold down a 3.0-4.0+ GPA. They find a way to still get their offseason baseball work in around winter sport commitments and school. It is possible to be a successful multi-sport student athlete. But, it takes a lot of self-discipline and sacrifice to make this happen.
- During the summer baseball season, we allow for one flex weekend for our high school age players that can be used to attend a sports camp (or a family commitment). However, other than the flex weekend, we expect that baseball will clearly be the number 1 sports priority from March-July. This becomes an issue when football showcase camps and AAU basketball tournaments are scheduled in the summer.
- During the Fall before and after a player’s Junior season, we strongly encourage him to play Fall Baseball. There are a lot of good exposure opportunities during the Fall for this age group. If a player plays 6 weekends during each Fall, that is 12 weekends of additional exposure opportunities that he will get during his”recruiting” year. This is very difficult for football and soccer players. But, it is a tradeoff if the player he wants to play college baseball.
- Finally, we strongly encourage Fall baseball as a way for all players to get more reps and more playing experience. The Spring Seasons in St. Louis are too cold and wet. Some of the best weather for baseball is in August-October. It is possible to get in an additional 30 games, 7 pitching starts and 80-100 at bats per year by playing Fall baseball. This helps St. Louis kids stay more competitive with kids from the mid-South (TN, NC, SC, OK, AR) where the Spring seasons start a lot earlier.
We have lots of multi-sport athletes and have a great track record of success with them. But, we are honest and realistic with them about the challenges — we do not just tell them what they want to hear.