A TRUE ATHLETE'S DEVELOPMENT CAN BE SEEN AS FOUR DISTINCT STAGES:
How easy is this one? Once you are born, you are 99% there. You may even be 99.8% there. Pick the greatest athlete you know, and, at birth, you are 99.8% similar. Here is another way of looking at it: you are given approximately 495 correct answers on a 500-question test. When you receive proper stimulation and nourishment, you are well on your way to becoming a great athlete. One helpful hint: do not allow anybody to stand you up too soon. You will walk when you are ready. Crawling is essential to proper neurological and muscular development.
Wow, I have shorts, a t-shirt, and a parent who has the time to bring me to play with other children. This is not only fun - it will help further my development. But what is this field sense? I am only six and everybody is yelling,“Get back! Go left! Anticipate the ball!” I don’t even know what “anticipate” means. Yes, my ancestors came through the ice age and developed a higher learning center (cerebral cortex), but I am only six. My physical abilities are ahead of my mental abilities. Allow me to just have fun. Let it stay exciting to show up. In time, I will develop and gain field sense.
I am a 13-year-old young man. Playing many sports has been exciting. Tennis, baseball, lacrosse – it’s been great. I am well-developed and well-rounded. However, I am starting to like a specific sport. For this reason, I will add sport-specific skills. I know about “jack of all trades, master of none,” so I will concentrate on one sport in particular, while maintaining and enhancing my overall athletic ability. I am grateful to those afford me this opportunity.
It’s been quite a trip. I am 18 years old now, and I really appreciate the game. Admittedly, it’s hard work, but it’s fun and fair. I have learned a lot. First, there are no shortcuts. Optimal performance requires both hard work and an appreciation of my fellow teammates and competitors. Numerous sacrifices along the way have increased my understanding of the game. I would like to believe that I am a role model to others. Moreover, I am proud of myself. I wear the red letter A proudly; I am a true athlete. I look forward, over time, to setting an example for the generations to come.