More than just sport coaching

Monday morning saw one of the biggest sporting events of the year take place in Houston, Texas, as the New England Patriots took on the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium.

It turned out to be arguably the greatest sporting comebacks ever witnessed as the Patriots overturned a 28-3 third quarter deficit to force overtime against the Falcons, before going on to win. There have been many outstanding comebacks in sporting history – Liverpool’s Champions League win in Istanbul (2005), or a personal favourite – Team Europe’s comeback in the 2012 Ryder Cup.

But this year’s Super Bowl caught the eye not only for the outstanding nature of the game, but also for the development of the majority of players involved in the game. 88.7% of the players from the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons played multiple sports in high school. That includes 52.8% who also were basketball players, 47.2% who also competed in track and field and 18.9% who also played baseball.

The game’s MVP – Tom Brady – has had a multi-sport upbringing. He stated in an interview with WEEI radio station in Boston:

“My parents always exposed us to different things, different sports. It was basketball when it was basketball season, it was baseball when it was baseball season. I didn’t play football ’til I was a freshman in high school. A lot of soccer. And there were just some camps. But I just played in the neighborhood in our street with all the kids that we grew up with.”

Brady is someone who understands how valuable multi-sport participation can be for children. He goes onto say:

“I hope my kids are late bloomers in whatever they do because they’re going to be exposed to so much at such an early time that, yeah, you do worry about what their motivation may be as they get older or if they feel like they’ve been in something for so long and it’s been hyper-intense and hyper-focused for so long, I think that can wear out a young individual, a young teenager.

“Sometimes it’s nice just for kids to be kids. At least that’s just from what I remember when I was growing up. I think that was a great opportunity for the kids to develop lots of parts of their personality.… Ultimately I found something that I loved to do at a young age. The more you’re exposed to, I think the better opportunity is for all kids to figure out what they really want to do in life.”

Give your kids the best chance to find what they love to do, allow them to be kids.

Super Bowl LI filled with high school multi-sport athletes

Tom Brady says kids shouldn't specialize in one sport