How are spending your time developing as an athlete?

Do you have a travel or AAU team?  Do you have a skills coach to train the individual skills of the game?

My question is are you putting the same energy into developing the mental and physical skills?

Here is what I see almost daily from athletes at all different levels…

I see athletes who can score 20 points at age 13 but get passed at age 16.  I see athletes who spend all week getting better at one sport but can’t skip.  I see athletes who literally can not stand on one leg or squat but play 3-5 matches or games every other weekend for 3 quarters of the year.

Maybe it’s the lens I look through, but I see a problem.

In my mind there are 3 pillars to athletic success…Mental, Physical and Sport.

Sport is what we spend the majority of our time working on.  Shot making, play making, ball handling and so on.  Hours upon hours are spent every week on developing the sport.  Clubs and travel teams thrive because of this.  It makes sense…to get better at the sport, you must practice the sport.

Mental can mean different things.  Do we know the game?  Are we happy playing it?  Are we tough enough to put in that extra effort or deal with adversity?  Rarely do I see actual teaching occur.  I do see it.  But I see more coaches wanting things to be harder or tougher instead of better.

Lastly, there is physical.  I was a high school basketball coach, ran an AAU basketball club and played in the AAU era of year round sports.  I can say I am not biased but informed.  The physical side of becoming a successful athlete is under valued.

I regularly teach kids how to skip, squat, do push ups and run.  These are fundamental movements that should already be there.  We also load our young athletes without making them earn the right to lift with weight or move on to the next hardest exercise.  Demand things be done right and do not move them on until they are.

Really cool story…Stanford University does not allow incoming freshman to touch a weight when they arrive until they go through a program and prove they can do things right.  These are nationally recruited athletes not being allowed to lift.  I’m sure that does not go over well with them.  However, they seem to churn out NFL draft picks as much as any school not named Alabama or Florida State.

There is POWER is doing things the right way.

Wrapping up…all 3 pillars are important.  You won’t reach your ceiling without all 3.  However, we spend too little time giving ourselves the tools necessary to maximize our sport skill.  Physical and mental are your foundation.  Sport is what you build on top of it.  You wouldn’t build a house on broken blocks would you?

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