Ability and Focus Tough to Beat
By John Ventola
It comes as no surprise that today’s athletes, whether high school, amateur, collegiate, or professional, are the best trained in the history of sports. Specialization now starts at a much younger age, oftentimes with a youngster getting a gentle “nudge” to go with a particular sport by parents who like a certain game, or type of participation.
Workout regimens start much earlier, and the concentration on proper techniques and movements for an individual sport frequently results in a well-developed, accomplished player in the chosen activity. While early beginnings and overemphasis can sometimes result in individual burnout, and body maturation, or extremes in growth patterns, can determine if a youngster can continue his pursuit of an individual sport, the concept of specialization is here to stay. How many star eighth grade football players stopped growing, and how many pixy gymnasts didn’t? Many factors figure in the formula that culminates in a top collegiate or professional athlete.
Years ago, it was common for high school athletes to compete in two or three sports during a school year. Some of the more talented even managed to do the four-sport (football, basketball, baseball, track) routine by jogging between the diamond and track for dual practices in the Spring. Later, golf, soccer, wrestling, and cross-country gave youngsters a broader range of events from which to choose as they continued their sporting endeavors. Continue reading