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 Boyle is a visionary leader and advocate for youth sports and physical literacy. As the Executive Director of 2-4-1 CARE, Inc. and Co-Founder/Director of 2-4-1 Sports, Steve stands at the forefront of the movement to transform the youth sports paradigm. His forward-thinking anti-specialization approach has garnered acclaim from esteemed institutions like the Aspen Institute. At the helm of 2-4-1, Steve has skillfully guided its expansion from its flagship location in West Hartford, Connecticut, to a range of locations across the U.S., Canada, and Africa. His leadership has not only scaled the program but also redefined the standards of youth sports Beyond the scope of 2-4-1 Sports, Steve’s influence extended to developing the National Association of Physical Literacy, where his insights as Advisory Board Chair were pivotal. His tenure as Global Lead on Physical Literacy and Athletics for Whittle School & Studios marked a significant contribution to the global community, shaping the athletic and physical education frameworks across campuses in Shenzhen and Washington, D.C. Steve is equally known for merging his expertise in counseling with his coaching acumen to create the TOP Self social-emotional learning platform. This innovative endeavor leverages sports to impart essential social-emotional learning skills, cementing Steve’s status as a national authority in physical literacy development.
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