Jul 28, 2016Every Athlete Has Potential
Nothing makes a coach more proud than to watch one of his or her athletes, who struggled at the start of the season, improve dramatically. Sometimes, it’s tempting to give up on a young person who seems to have two left feet. But, in reality, every child can be physically competent.
Developing athleticism is the key to success. It is an educational process and yes, everyone can be physically educated.
For 45 years I’ve been working as a teacher and coach. I know what is possible. Everyone can be athletic.
Enter Garret, 14 years old, chubby, unfocused, and weak. He was locked into that soft-uncoordinated pattern that grabs more than half of our population.
When we look at an athlete, we see someone in control of his body. The feet are key. If they can control their feet they can usually play. This kid had the duck-footed, awkward stance and forward body lean that characterizes a lot of the unathletic.
This is the type of child who plays soccer when he is little, maybe a little baseball, and then gives up sports by the time he is 13 or 14. They give up because they’ve had no initial success. Attitude becomes paired with awkwardness. They become convinced that they are not athletes.
It did not turn out that way for Garret. He, like most kids, had what it takes to be an athlete. He just did not know it.
Garret’s dad, Mike, was his son’s biggest supporter and he asked me to help. He knew what my philosophy was regarding the development of a child. He had seen me work with three of his older children. He knew I believed every child has hidden physical abilities.
You see, we are all blessed with the same physiology. Everyone has the same cardiovascular and endocrine system. Everyone has a neurological and musculoskeletal system. Everybody will adapt to stress or stimulation.
We all have propensities but we also have potential. We have the potential to adapt to training. If we are willing to work, we can make substantial changes in our body.
Mike knew my philosophy had worked for his other children. He also knew I create new adaptations.
The body has to be selectively stimulated. It is a progression that can be taught.
Each step is based upon the way the body reacts physiologically to outside stimuli: training.
He and I didn’t give up. We encouraged Garret and as Garret began to adapt, his focus and his attitude were altered.
Success begets success. Once Garret began to change, he worked harder. Garret ended up a state placer in wrestling. He was one of the strongest kids I ever worked with.
He became a coordinated, strong, upright young man who was confident. Everyone can cause their biological system to change. Garret did not start that way. It took work and patience.
Everything I will present in my future blogs is aimed at making maximum use of those biological systems. This is about maximizing a young person’s potential. Hopefully you’ll follow me as I explain how this is possible.
What are your thoughts on the points raised in this article? Do you have any questions for the author? What are other topics you’d like to see us cover?
Rich Zawack,, BS, MA, CSCS-D, has served as president of Athletic Development Corporation for the last 10 years. Prior to that he was a high school teacher and coach for 36 years at Strongsville (Ohio) High School. He has coached 17 state champions, one NCAA champion, 18 NFL football players, and one NBA basketball player.