Playing multiple sports was key to success for Coyne Schofield
Olympic gold medalist Kendall Coyne Schofield competes in the NHL skills competition last season, the first woman to do so. “When I was a kid, I played basketball, baseball, softball and hockey,” she said.
Kendall Coyne Schofield makes the case for young athletes 12 and under playing multiple sports.
The U.S. Women’s Olympic gold medalist played four sports before deciding to concentrate on hockey while in high school.
“Growing up, I vividly remember being in either two places: school or sports. Whether it was organized sports, recess at school or backyard games with siblings, we were constantly active and doing as many sports as we could,” Coyne Schofield said on the USA Hockey website. “When I was a kid, I played basketball, baseball, softball and hockey.”
She whittled it down to hockey and softball and says the benefits of playing more than one sport were countless.
“In hockey, I was the only girl on the team for a long time,” she said. “Softball was that balance that helped me meet other girls in sports.”
The skills she learned in one sport also benefited her in other sports.
“My hand-eye coordination from softball – I would find myself knocking pucks out of midair in hockey,” Coyne Schofield said. “Speed has always been a factor in all sports, and I would get faster on and off the ice.”
She made the softball team of her suburban Illinois high school. But she was starting to realize her potential on the ice and began representing the United States in various hockey events.
So, Coyne Schofield made the difficult decision to play only hockey. That decision was made even more painful when the softball team she’d played for won the state championship when she was a senior.
“I loved all sports, and it was really sad day when I had to give up softball,” she said.
But she still recommends trying multiple sports.
“It was so important to play more than one sport,” she said. “Each sport teaches you a life lesson and you meet new friends. I never felt burnt out in either sport.”
Many of Coyne Schofield’s U.S. teammates also played other sports, including twins Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux, Lee Stecklein and Kelly Pannek.
“There are multiple players on our team that could have gone Division I in multiple other sports,” Coyne Schofield said. “When we warm up with soccer or other sports … you see the talent ooze out of them.”
She treasures her overall sports experience.
“Ultimately it is the life lessons I learned from sports like teamwork, discipline, time management and most importantly having fun and being competitive,” Coyne Schofield said. “That’s part of my background