Is Changing Sports Junior Year a Good Decision?

Sports Editor Manny Diaz writes about his experience with changing sports in high school.


Youssef Diaz

Track-and-field athlete Manny Diaz warms up for the 400-hurdles and finishes in 2nd place.

Manny Diaz and Reilly McGowan

Sometimes, hard decisions have to be made in life; I have experienced it first hand with playing both baseball and running track. I have had to overcome a lot of obstacles and it wasn’t easy. In my high school athletic career, I have made some wise choices on what sports I wanted to play. Dropping my main sport, baseball, which has run in my blood since I was a little child, was a difficult thing to do. Even though I never listened to her until I was 17, my mother always knew what was best for me.

“I’ve seen since elementary school that you were meant to run. You were more passionate about running than anything else,” she told me.

The Switch

So I finally decided to heed her advice and join the Spring Track Team; doing this helped me to expand my running skills to the next level. In high school, sports athletes are not all equal. Less-experienced or younger athletes require shorter, age-appropriate workouts. A good coach moderates the amount of run jumps taken, or weight lifted to prevent overuse and injuries. This moderation also raises the performance of the new athletes.

Even though I was new to track though, workouts were something that both sports share. My speed and endurance from baseball translated very well onto the track field and the success was imminent. The outcome that occured was that I was able to get 14 medals and make it to groups sectional twice. I was able to carry on my leadership and hard work dedication into all the events I did. I am so fortunate to have had the most exceptional and rewarding experience of my life so far as a student-athlete at JFK, but I am not the only student who has made this decision.

My Insight

At first, I was nervous my coach’s reaction to my switch. However, I was a good player and I knew what I wanted. Therefore, my coach supported me and I knew he would always be there for me, no matter what team I was on.

My advice to all the underclassmen reading this who are considering changing sports is: don’t settle. Even if you have played a sport for years at at time, it’s okay to want to change it up and do something different. This is high school, it is made for experimenting and figuring out what you love.

All I can say is that it is never too late to try new things. The switch from baseball to track worked out so well that I even switched from cross-country to football my senior year too!