The official site of the Torch, the student-run newspaper at Glenbrook North High School.


The official site of the Torch, the student-run newspaper at Glenbrook North High School.


The official site of the Torch, the student-run newspaper at Glenbrook North High School.


Complementary sports benefit athletes

Pairing sports transfers skills
Senior Raj Selvaraj plays football and basketball. He has noticed the skills he has aquired from both sports transfer to the other, which improves his overall athleticism. Photo by Lara White

By tracking his opponent’s movements, senior Raj Selvaraj noticed the opposing team’s quarterback rollout and sacked him in a game against Evanston Township last fall.

“He [pump faked] a ball, but I just didn’t fall for it,” said Selvaraj. “I just hit him as hard as I could.” 

The instincts of not falling for ball fakes and tracking opponents are important in basketball and football, Selvaraj said. 

According to Takeshi Barnes, researcher for the exercise performance group at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, sports are considered complementary if they involve similar movements or if one sport breaks up the repetitive movement patterns in the athlete’s main sport.

“Your body doesn’t necessarily distinguish what the objects [used] are or what field you are on,” said Barnes. “[The skills are] highly transferable just by the nature of what they are.”  

Athletes can improve their overall athletic performance by pairing complementary sports.

“The footwork and physicality in football translates over onto the court,” said Selvaraj. “And vice versa, a lot of [the] hand-eye coordination and footwork in basketball helps with football.” 

According to Jayson Patel, head strength and conditioning coach at Glenbrook North, the three-season high school schedule is a safe way for athletes to maximize their athletic potential.

“If you play multiple sports, you get exposed to different athletic endeavors, meaning your body is responding to you moving in different patterns and accepting forces in different ways,” said Patel. “When you are playing [just] one sport, you are asked to repeat similar movements over and over, which can create imbalances.” 

According to Selvaraj, the active hands and footwork he develops in basketball helps him stay alert while playing football. 

“As a defensive lineman, you have to have active hands, so in case a pass goes up you can swat it down,” Selvaraj said. 

According to Jason Chrapek, clinical assistant professor of kinesiology at Purdue University, it can be beneficial for athletes to focus less on their primary sport.

“[Athletes] might take one or two steps back with that specific skill or aspect of athleticism,” said Chrapek.“But [they] are likely going to make up for it with increases in benefits in other areas to be a more well-rounded athlete.”

According to Patel, hyperfocusing on one sport can prevent development as an overall athlete. 

“I encourage kids as much as possible to try to participate in more than one sport and not specialize too early,” said Patel. “They don’t realize how being able to go through those different athletic endeavors in different sports may enhance their main thing.”

About the Contributor
Natalie Mahoney, Staff Writer
Natalie Mahoney (‘26) is a Staff Writer and has been a member of Torch since her sophomore year.