3 – 6 – 3

‘Hey kid, you’re 10 years old, want to play in college? Stop playing other sports.” An exaggeration, maybe? But in today’s youth Sports World it’s sadly not far from the truth. Where working hard in season use to be the norm, now we have added summer tournament travel, off season leagues and year round instruction. And the result is, Specialization. Driven by the mantra “More is Better.” And more significantly the “Scholarship” train.

Here is the reality, “More” most often is simply working more, not necessarily harder and certainly not smarter. And less than 2% of high school athletes receive athletic scholarships. So what’s the answer? How do parents and young athletes make smart
choices concerning athletic development?

1. Play other sports

College coaches preach the value in playing multiple sports (speaks to athleticism and the ability and desire to compete) which juxtaposes the prevailing message delivered to parents and youth players by program directors and coaches, “You want to excel, you need to play year round.”

The benefits of being a multiple sport athlete are numerous:

  • Development of overall athleticism
  • Development of different individual motor skills, results in increased performance
  • Reduced rate of repetitive injuries, different sports require different movements
  • Less physical and emotional burn out
  • Learning how to compete on different stages, “no moment is too big”
  • Expand your Athletic and Emotional IQ by playing different sports, playing fordifferent coaches and playing with different teammates

2. The 3 – 6 – 3 Rule : You chose not to play another sport or do not have the option

  • First 3 months: Play your sport in season
  • Next 6 months: Develop your overall athleticism and sport specific skill set.
    a. Develop a training schedule which incorporates all of the following: Strength, Power, Speed, Balance, Agility
    b. Skill work: Identify your deficiencies and put together a program to improve these sport specific skills
    c. Incorporate games: Games play an important role. You learn what you can do and cannot do. Simply put, “you learn what you have learned and learn what you still need to learn.”
  • Next 3 months: Find a hobby, do community service, incorporate a passive training schedule. Create balance and perspective to create improved physical, mental and emotional health.

For all athletes here is why it’s not only about games when it comes to Athletic Development
Team Practice/Individual Lessons is an athlete’s Classroom Instruction
– Individual Practice is the athlete’s Homework
– The Game is the athlete’s Test.

The above three components are equally vital to the athletic learning and developmental Process. Any off season plan must incorporate all three, to ensure the athlete is working not only hard but smart. No student will learn just taking tests. No athlete will improve just playing games.

Working Smart

  • Play multiple sports if you have the ability
  • Play one sport, use the 3-6-3 rule
  • Work to develop both your athleticism and individual skill set
  • Find a talented instructor who is a “ teacher”
  • Understand and just as importantly be realistic about your athletic ability and ceiling
  • Incorporate the 3 components: Team Practice , Individual Practice and Games
  • Take time off to be a non-athlete: Create balance and perspective to improve your physical, mental and emotional health

The Athletic Process: Leaning How to Compete
To view the Athletic Process segment visit Tap Corner at athleticpitcherseries.com

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