Throughout one’s life there are many things that can alter your perception of what is best for an athlete.
The change can come through experiences, education, events, lessons, and on and on. Thinking about things lately, I have realized I have undergone a certain change in perception.
On Oct. 8 I wrote a column titled, “Playing it all or playing all year.” I gave my thoughts on how it is better for an athlete to play multiple sports than to concentrate on just one year-round. Since that time, I have a slight change in my take on this.
The life-altering experience that led to this change is my coaching the Grade 7 girls’ basketball team at G.C. Rowe. The team has clearly showed it is the cream of the crop on the west coast for their age group thus far, but a trip to the east coast shows they have a long way to go to compete with the best school teams on the island.
I didn’t have to be told, but a coach of the province’s best in Grade 7 said we have what it takes to compete. The difference is time and training. Some teams on the east coast have been together since Grade 4, and spend the summer months working on skills and development. With a summer of intense training focusing on ball control and passing, my girls could reach the next level, I was told. I agree.
So, that’s my plan for the offseason. To continue working with the girls at this age throughout the later months of the school year and all summer. At least once a week, get them in the gym working on their skills.
I wouldn’t say I have gone through a complete transformation and believe athletes should concentrate on only one sport. However, to reach an elite level one has to continue to work on their game all year round.
I still believe that can’t come at the detriment of an athlete’s ability to be a multi-sport star or an all-around athlete. So, a difficult balance has to be found, and perhaps the hardest part of all of that is time. How can a young boy or girl find time to invest in multiple sports, when each coach will demand a strong commitment?
That is why, no matter what a kid decides to do, it is important to let each athlete choose the path that makes them happiest. If that is one sport, so be it. But, I still think the best life experiences will be achieved through multiple sports — even if one has to find time to play them year round.