Playing One Sport Year Around is Not Beneficial – Young Players Need to Prepare, They Need to Train.
From PANKO & Strength & Speed’s February 2012 Alpha Athlete:
The upswing into the New Year can be a time of maximal progress for athletes. Unfortunately, it can also be the maximum time of tunnel-vision for narrow minded parents and coaches. Football is the lone holdout single season sport, Indiana is slowly moving to spring football with coaches hosting non-school related events. EVERY other sport has become year round, and with understandable reason.
College coaches are unable to get out and heavily recruit during their season; scheduling does not allow it. Summer has now become the crucial time for wrestlers, baseball/softball players, and soccer and basketball players to get recognition in showcases, combines, and national tournaments where scholarships are rewarded, sometimes on the spot. Since summer is the apex of the athlete’s opportunity exposure, it only makes sense that the winter and spring are the facilitators to an athlete having a great summer.
The constant stimulation of sport and game specific skill sets and the monotonous application of these skills impede athletic development. The romance of the nose to the grindstone mentality (think shooting 1,000 free throws a day on a barn hoop in small town Indiana) will not be enough to keep most athletes on pace with the five percent that set the curve. When the nervous system is no longer stimulated by the repeated practice of sport skills it will not react, and without the need to react to a stimulating environment progress grinds to a halt.
This is not a knock on single sport athletes, but it is an awakening for athletes who only play one sport and they play it year around. They do not prepare, they do not train, and all they do is compete. Preparation is the most important part. Straight A’s are made on tests, they are spent in the hours preparing for the test by studying different ideas, methods, facts, or paradigms, and then applying them during a test.
The alternative to mundane practice and constant games is training. Training will fix movement patterns, athletes will learn to become more efficient, get stronger, sprint faster, change directions better, dominate by being less susceptible to injury, and obtain amazing mental toughness. Athleticism has become the cornerstone of sport success. A young ball player can have all the game skills in the world, but if they lack the athletic competence to get to the point of attack first, decelerate, win a small battle and re-accelerate to the next point of attack then they will end up watching every else play when it matters (that would be high school when scholarships are being given to the athletes.)
As a coach or parent, think about how much time kids shoot hoops, field grounders, run routes, or practice shots on goal – ALL without the chaos of defenders and unpredictability that sports pack. Reflect upon how much they really do that when they play. They are severely over-trained to do skills they rarely use. The next time they play a game, watch what the best player in the game is doing. They are the fastest, get to the point of attack first, they change directions the best, and they are stronger than everyone else. Slow, weaklings who think they are going to play professional sports are a penny a dozen. Trained athletes that train in an environment of stimulating chaos pay a path of destruction that gets noticed. It is time for a paradigm shift.
Speaking of an Alpha Athlete, here is some footage of the first 40 Ryan Forney ran this winter and another 3.97 short shuttle…
PANKO Strength & Speed, Proud Stewards of the American Dream