Growing up and playing a wide variety of sports was something I have taken for granted over the years. From being exposed to so many different coordination patterns and athletic events, I can typically take some skill I had previously learned and transfer part of that experience over to the new endeavor. From typical youth leagues of T-ball, basketball, flag football and after school care at the YMCA along with my dad being pretty awesome at doing guy stuff, I played pool, threw darts, shot BB guns, drove go-carts, mopeds, and cars before I had my license (with and without my parents knowing) and learned how to drive bass boats and drive while towing trailers. I also participated in a good amount of manual labor throughout my youth. As I went much deeper into in a previous article, the sports I truly loved and that shaped me into the man and athlete I am today were Tae-Kwon-Do, wrestling and lifting weights. This profile will look different for everyone of course but you get the idea of my background.
This is how youth should be! Being exposed to the widest variety of stimuli possible in order to build a broad base. Then later in life, you specialize in careers, athletics, and hobbies. Plus, you have ZERO clue what you are good at until you experiment and try different things. This statement bodes true outside of athletics. If you have children or younger siblings please encourage and expose them to our world and its limitless potential. Find things to succeed at and enjoy.
Unfortunately, if you did not have such a wide variety of physical coordination and technical skills to learn from then we are already behind the 8 ball. Being in this position simply means more time building fundamentally safe and efficient movement patterns. I am sorry but we cannot load the barbell up and hammer heavy weights and high reps under fatigue when the motor pattern and coordination skills are not developed. We must regress and think beyond just the stage/platform and strength/physique goals. This is something I see often in the competitive and recreational new expanding world of fitness and physique sports. With such a rapid rise in popularity of CrossFit, NPC, and powerlifting, people jump directly into a challenging weight training program without knowing what it feels like to simply arch your back and squeeze your scapula together or even hip hinge. If they can’t squeeze the scapula down and back then they don’t have the ability to properly squat, bench, or do many upper body exercises. The mind muscle connection does not happen overnight; it takes thousands of repetitions and countless hours of practice.