If you follow us on social media, you may have seen the following post before the National Football League?s AFC and NFC championships games a couple of weeks back.
Yes, that?s Aaron Rodgers shown as a child posing for anything but football (that?s him bottom left as the smallest guy on his freshman basketball team in HS).?Now, I can?t guarantee it, but I?d wager a fairly large sum that if these 3 photos weren?t taken – neither would this one below:
Now look–of course I?m not saying that playing multiple sports as a child will lead to a guarantee of playing professional sports as an adult. (Aaron clearly grew A LOT after that freshman photo and had some other pretty good genes – but don?t underestimate the fact that he also developed a love of play along the way). Rodgers’ story also reminds me to remind parents and coaches that the late bloomer often develops a toughness and resiliency that early bloomers aren?t forced to develop. It?s important not to give up on children who don?t present as ?athletic?, ?agile? or ?big enough? at a young age. Children grow physically and emotionally at their own rates.
With the Super Bowl upon us, you will likely hear a lot of stories about the advantages of multi-sport participation at a young age. In fact, like Rodgers it’s very well known that Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady were both basketball and baseball players growing up. But, it’s not just the quarterbacks who played multiple sports. I saw a recent stat that indicated of all the players participating in this year?s big game,
- 10% played football only
- 56% were 2 sport athletes
- 32% were 3 sport athletes
- 2% were 4 sport athletes
None of this surprises me — and usually when I talk to parents — it doesn?t surprise them.?But, then those same parents often turn around and go against their better instincts and their child?s wishes and pull them from other sports, hire personal trainers and hijack their youth.?It?s quite insane looking at it from the outside in.??
Kids play sports mainly because they like playing with their friends.?Some of you may remember this story from a few years ago that usually resurfaces around Super Bowl or World Series time (I?ll repost in the Feel Good Footer below).?What strikes me most is that Stafford and Kershaw –if you take away their ultimate success — are like any other adult friends who just really like each other and like to reminisce about their childhood antics.??
As a sport that often gets a bad rap in the multisport argument, it has been my experience that those who rise to the highest level in soccer share the same aforementioned traits. Let?s take Alex Morgan – arguably one of the best women soccer players in the world.?Do you think either of these photos below look like a kid who thinks about nothing but playing soccer and winning a World Cup. No – Long Term Athlete and Physical Literacy Development happen over time – and playing multiple sports and having fun with one?s friends is a key component to that development!
As 2-4-1 Sports both ages and grows, our list of stories and anecdotes grow with it as does our conviction to spread the ?Life?s 2 Short 4 Just 1 Sport? mission.?As you watch the Super Bowl with your kids – if you and they are so inclined – make a list of how many times you see an athlete use a skill that could be applied to another sport.?It will give you all a new found appreciation for how doing one thing – makes you better at and appreciate – another.??
Have a SUPER day and please consider passing this on to a friend you think might appreciate it.??(We call that an assist in the sports world :-).
About Steve Boyle
Steve is the Executive Director of 2-4-1 CARE, Inc and Co-Founder/Director of 2-4-1 Sports -- a signature program of 2-4-1 CARE-- whose flagship program is held at the Kingswood Oxford School in West Hartford, Conn. but now has locations throughout the United States and Canada. 2-4-1 was recognized by the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC as one of eight model programs in the United States for its approach to anti-specialization in youth sports. This led Steve to form the National Association of Physical Literacy – of which he is now Advisory Board Chair. Steve is also a founding member of the Quality Coaching Collective – an international group of activators around sport, movement and mindfulness. Lastly, through his role at CCG, Steve was the two-year Global Lead on Physical Literacy and Athletics for Whittle School & Studios (2018-20), which currently has campuses in Shenzhen, China and Washington, DC.