The U.S. Olympic Committee recently published a report based on a survey distributed to nearly 2,000 Olympic athletes. The results indicated that the vast majority of Olympians did not specialize in their sport until very late in their development, and even then, some continued to participate in other sports. The numbers are staggering...
Average number of sports played among Olympians (by age)
Age Average Number of Sports Played
As you can see, on average, athletes continued to play roughly three sports until the age of 14. As they approached high school, they continued to play more than one sport. If that is not enough evidence, check out this study conducted by ESPN: They surveyed 128 NFL quarterbacks – 73 active, 55 retired – and 95 percent of them played multiple sports in high school. Nearly 70 percent of them played three sports or more. There were only five active NFL quarterbacks who reported that they were single-sport specialists. Between the two of those studies, athletes between the ages of 14-18 (that means you high school kid), played over two sports. Interesting to think about when little Johnny, who happens to be only 8, is told by some club coach that he needs to start focusing on one sport if he wants to get that scholarship.
In order to be a great player, one must be an athlete first. When was the last time you watched a professional sport competition and said, "Man, that dude is a terrible athlete". It just doesn't happen. And as the data shows you above, these competitors are great athletes because of the athletic foundation they built playing multiple sports throughout their childhood. Each sport has the ability to teach you something new. Skills and sense transfer from sport to sport. Overall athletic ability matters in sport. Participating in multiple sports keeps you hungry. It keeps you fresh. It keeps you energetic. When all os these factors are working in your favor, you will develop into a better athlete over time! Early specialization impairs all of this, limiting athletes’ potential for long-term success.
Bottom line, mounting evidence shows no benefit to young athletes specializing in a single sport. Even more alarming, they have a greater risk of repetitive-use injury, they miss out on the advantages that playing multiple sports can give them, and psychological burnout has eliminated many from the game before they even hit their athletic prime. So encourage your kids to try different sports and to have fun while they are doing it. It might not equal a scholarship or a professional contract, but for the 99 percent of young athletes that don’t become professional athletes, this varied athletic foundation helps them enjoy the camaraderie and health benefits of an active lifestyle well into adulthood.
Now, I don't mean to mislead any of you by this title, but this post will not be about the 1974 song titled Bad Company. The following words will be written about a more important topic. It is about the people we surround ourselves with. It is about how the company we keep effects our life, decisions, goals, dreams, and actions. Afterall, "Bad company corrupts good character." Or for that matter, any company can effect your actions.
This story starts with a book I read a few years ago titled Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. In one section of the book, Gladwell discusses the role that police officers have on one another. For example, one of the really interesting facts about police work is that an officer behaves much better—makes better decisions, fires his gun less frequently, has fewer complaints filed against him—when he is by himself than when he is paired with a partner. Officers on their own are far more cautious. Without the emboldening presence of a companion, they take far fewer risks. They don't pick fights, or put themselves into nearly as many ambiguous or dangerous situations, because they know they have no one looking out for them.
This example is present for those of us who don't serve and protect. Think back to a time when you and a bunch of buddies have gotten together. You develop a certain pack mentality and often nudge each other to act in a certain way. The company you keep will have a direct effect on how you act. For those who surround themselves with positive influences, your life will be enriched by those who you spend time with. If you are on the other end of the spectrum, and keep company with unsavory individuals, get used to unsavory decision making. We all have the ability to tinker with our environments. Take control of your situation and surround yourself with like-minded individuals all working towards a common goal.
There is nothing more valuable than surrounding yourself with individuals all working towards the greater good. Positive peer pressure is real. To join our fitness community and get yourself a FREE two-week pass, click the button below. I look forward to hearing from you!
"I hope that we will not find a day in the United States when all of us are spectators except for a few who are out on the field, I hope all Americans will be on the field." -- President John F. Kennedy
In the 1960's president John F. Kennedy lost his life to the bullet of an assassin in Texas. Fast forward 50+ years and those who were alive on that dreadful day still speak of where they were the day the president died. President Kennedy's legacy didn't just involved politics, he also influenced the world of physical fitness.
In 1957 there was no PE program more impressive than the one at La Sierra High. Their results were so amazing that the program captured the attention of John F. Kennedy, who announced his famous challenge for America to make a "Great National Effort" to become physically fit. JFK believed that a country is only as strong as its citizens. Plus, he had two young children himself and wanted them to live a long, healthy life full of vigor and energy. Excitement surrounded La Sierra's PE curriculum and eventually over 4,000 schools across the nation followed this program (click here for a sample of La Sierras program). But something happened over the last 20-30 years. Now, there are some schools out there who don't mandate PE as an educational requirement or worse, cutting PE programs altogether. Just like that, Kennedy's goal for physical fitness for our children was virtually forgotten.
Now, more than ever, there needs to be a revival of President Kennedy's Great National Effort. The need to educate teachers, parents, coaches, mentors, etc is at an all-time high. We need to motivate our country to accept the challenge laid down over 50 years and try to do it once again. Join my mission to bring quality physical education back for our youth today. Keep reading to find out how.
In a short span of 2-3 months, we can change the physical health of our children. This challenge was laid down to our ancestors and we failed to live up to it. We owe it to the next generation to right our wrongs and show the next generation how to improve the current state of physical physical. Starting on June 15 I am opening my doors for the next generate of Americans to improve their fitness. I am offering a Physical Education Training Course (click here for information) geared to improving the lifestyles of those who need it most: our children! To register and get the early bird discount, scroll down and click the yellow button. Discount expires in 10 Days so click now!
Chris is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and member of the National Strength & Conditioning Association. He has recently served as a high school football and wrestling coach. Chris loves swinging kettlebells around, watching football and reading books!