At the end of Kate Graham’s senior year in high school, Kate received a customized award to recognize her accomplishment of a being a three varsity sport athlete for all four years of her high school career. Kate Graham then graduated on to UC Davis where she started for their Division-I lacrosse team as a freshman. Unlike many high school lacrosse players that choose to specialize in lacrosse and dropped all other childhood sports to hopefully increase their chances of being recruited and being a stronger player, Kate decided that her passion for water polo and basketball was just as important as her lacrosse recruiting process. Her choice to play more sports rather than more lacrosse is arguably the reason why she has so much potential as a college lacrosse player and why she did not burn out.
Question: What were the perks of choosing to play three varsity sports all four years of high school?
Answer: I loved playing three sports. I was always jumping from one sport to the next— I played water polo in the summer and fall, basketball in the winter, and lacrosse in the spring and summer. Playing multiple sports mentally and physically had a positive impact on me for several reasons. Mentally I was always excited to be playing the in-season sport. Whether it was being able to see my friends on the team or just playing the game, there was never any dread to go to practice or boredom of the sport. Physically I was always able to stay in shape through out the year solely because I never had a full month of an off season. Though one might assume the constant stress I was putting on my body would injure my body, quite the opposite happened. Playing multiple sports gave the different muscle groups I used in each sport a healthy amount of time to be strengthen, as well as giving them healthy breaks. Another of the biggest advantages I got from playing different sports was field sense. I was able to apply the tight passing lanes of basketball to feeding in the fan in lacrosse. I was also able to use my clearing vision as a goalie in water polo to make smart decisions in transitions in lacrosse.
Question: Did you feel like playing other sports increased your potential in lacrosse in college?
Answer: After distributing all my time to three different sports from elementary school through high school, college felt different. For the first time I spent all year playing the same sport, and I loved it. It allowed me to fully develop my lacrosse skills at an age where I knew playing well every game mattered much more. I had a lot of room to grow as a lacrosse player because this was the first time I had ever focused solely on lacrosse.
Question: Do you think playing multiple sports in high school helped or hurt your recruiting process?
Answer: Choosing to play water polo and basketball certainly gave up a lot of time I would have spent going to recruiting camps during off season and doing wall ball, but many college coaches liked that I was a multi sport athlete. From a coach’s perspective it showed that I can learn other skills, and that they had more to work with when I went to college. It also further showed that I was used to dedicating my time to sports year around.
Question: Was there ever a moment where you wanted to play a second sport in college?
Answer: I had thoughts at the end of my senior year to play water polo at the next level. But lacrosse was the only sport I played on a club team and had help being recruited, so it was the only sport I ever truly considered playing in college.