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Jando Lara chosen DR Male Athlete of Year

01/11/2016, 11:00am PST
By B Clemmens

2x BAWS'r from Vanden HS, multi-sport athlete

If you know ANYTHING about me and my perspective on youth sports, you know I am all about kids playing multiple sports for as long as they can. You can't do this after high school.... why drop other sports you enjoy playing with friends and just plain enjoy playing before you have to?  Doesn't make sense to me.

If you have a coach or coaches telling you that you NEED to focus on just baseball to get your college shot or to make varsity, or whatever your focus is, that coach is not helping you to become a better athlete.  Sure, you might gain some extra level of skill because you focus on one sport and get all those reps, but eventually better athletes will pass you by because better athletes can be taught the same skills and they will perform those skills with a higher level of talent and athleticism, which will make them more impactful AND skilled players.  

Why do so many travel ball coaches and personal coaches tell you to stop playing other sports?  Come on... you know the answer... it's more financially beneficial to them to have you drop those sports and play/practice baseball full-time (or softball, or whatever sport they offer).  

Furthermore, for all the parents out there allowing your 8-14 year old kids to specialize before they hit puberty... please STOP DOING IT! 

Jando Lara (attended BAWS Underclass as a frosh and soph), good for you! You are an inspiring high school athlete! My 9-year old son plays baseball, soccer and basketball and I will keep him playing each of them as long as I can. I promise.

Here is the link to the article written by Paul Farmer of the Fairfield-Suisun Daily Republic

Another thing I love about this is the fact that Lara excels at soccer and baseball.  There is a part of the American baseball culture, especially at the youth and high school levels, where baseball kids (and some dads of baseball kids) look down on soccer and think it's less than a macho sport.  Wrong!  It is a GREAT sport that promotes footwork, physical conditioning, spacing, teamwork, body control, and selective physicality combined with grace, creativity, and athleticism.  

One of the first things and guiding principles my former scouting director boss Roy Clark told me was... "find us (us meaning the Braves) some multi-sport athletes... WE will turn in them into Braves' ballplayers."

Listen to the words.