If Your Kid Wants To Be A Professional Athlete: Here’s The Cheat Code

Raising child prodigies is an arduous task. Athletes like Tiger Woods, Micheal Phelps, Venus and Serena Williams are made……. not born. They were blessed with insightful parents that identified their gifts and reared their talents and followed the Cheat Code.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it—Proverbs 22:6. Our role as parents is to ensure that our kids have a better future than we had.

My kids want to be professional athletes. What kind of parent would I be if I didn’t support that goal? Not a very good one. I teach them, that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them. ALL THINGS!

If your child wants to be a Professional Athlete they must follow the Cheat Code.

  1. 10,000 hours of Deep Practice

According to research by Anders Ericsson holds that 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” or deep practice are needed to be world class in anything or any field.  “Deliberate practice” means to practice for a minimum of 10,000 hours in a way that pushes your skill set as much as possible.

What about geniuses? As Ericsson put it, “There’s no cell type that geniuses have that the rest of us don’t.”

What about young Mozart’s famous ability to transcribe entire scores on a single hearing? In the book “Genius Explained”, Dr. Michael Howe of Exeter University estimates that Mozart, by his sixth birthday, had studied 3,500 hours of music with his instructor-father, a fact that places his musical memory in the realm of impressive but obtainable skill.

Savants or geniuses typically accumulate massive amounts of prior exposure to their domain. The true expertise of these geniuses reside in their ability to deep-practice obsessively. These sorts of self-driven deep practicers with the obsessive desire to improve-what psychologist Ellen Winner calls “the rage to master” are rare. (A rule of thumb: if you have to ask whether your child possesses the rage to master, he doesn’t.)

Frans Johansson’s book “The Click Moment” is about two very simple but highly provocative ideas. The first is that success is random—far more random than we would like to believe. The second is that there are a number of specific actions that we, as individuals and organizations, can take to cap­ture this randomness and focus it in our favor.

So mastery is more than a matter of practice.“For scientists, the important question now is, what else matters?”

2. Work on Talent

Now what is talent? The scientific expression of talent is known as myelin. Myelin is the revolutionary discovery of a neural insulator, which some neurologist now consider to be the holy grail of acquiring skill.

Here’s why. Every human skill, whether it’s playing football, baseball, sprinting or playing music, is created by chains of nerve fibers carrying a tiny electrical impulse-basically, a signal traveling through a circuit. Myelin’s vital role is to wrap those nerve fibers the same way that rubber insulation wraps copper wire, making the signal stronger and faster by preventing the impulses from spilling out.

Myelin grows most swiftly in childhood but grows throughout life. By the time a child is 9 years old about 90% of their nervous system is developed. Its growth enables all manner of skill both mental and physical. The fatty white substance can’t be seen or felt, however we can sense its increase only by its magical effects of perfecting a skill.

As Dr. George Bartzokis, a UCLA neurologist and myelin researcher, put it, “All skills, all language, all music, all movements, are made of living circuits, and all circuits grow according to certain rules.”

3. Develop Intelligence (General and Sport IQ)

I call it “The X factor”. With all things being equal….. intelligence is the tie breaker.

Researchers have been trying to understand the different areas of intelligence (gained by a test result). Through new ways of exploring the workings of the brain, they began to consider ‘additional intelligence factors’ such as:

  • Discipline
  • Persistence
  • Interpersonal Relationships

Full definitions are given to the ones that I feel are most important to athletic development in 3, 6, and 7.

The 7 Types of Intelligence

1) Linguistic Intelligence- (verbal/writing)

2) Logic Intelligence- (math/problem solving)

3) Kinaesthetic Intelligence – (Kinaesthetic Intelligence relates to the ease of bodily expression. This kind of person has a great sense of space, distance, depth and size. This person can perform complex movements with precision and ease. The cerebellum, which is the portion of the brain that controls voluntary movements of the body, is associated with Kinaesthetic Intelligence. This characteristic is present in Olympic and high performance athletes.)

4) Spatial Intelligence- (creative)

5) Musical Intelligence-(rare intelligence)

6) Interpersonal Intelligence – (It is often said that people are born to be leaders. This group are practical people with a great sense of responsibility. They are calm in their ways, they know how to listen and speak but above all, they know how to use their own knowledge and power to influence people.)

 7) Intrapersonal Intelligence- (the rarest )- (Intrapersonal Intelligence is a characteristic of someone that is deeply connected with themselves.  This type of person is usually more reserved but at the same time commands great admiration from their peers. Among each of the seven types of intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence is considered the rarest.)

4. Pick a Sport or position based on Projected Adult Size

When your child turns 9, have their bone age checked for projected adult height. This step is so critical you can’t leave this up to chance. I have seen kids that are 6’2 as 8th graders playing center/forward on their middle school team and never grow another inch. They get to high school and realize they should have spent their time working on their jump shot like Stephen Curry.

Every sport has a standard or minimum size/ weight requirement. Are their outliers?- Of course their will always be a kid like Dennis Rodman that grew to be 6’9 after he left high school. What you lack in size you better make up for it in speed, athleticism and hustle. What we are trying to do is maximize your chances and give your kid the best shot.

Let’s look at the NFL Running Back standards below:

Height:  5’10”

Weight:  215 lbs

40-yd Dash:  4.58 sec

Arm Length:  31”

Hand Span:  9”

Intelligence:  Average

Characteristics:  Competitiveness, Balance, Vision, Speed, Versatility

These are called measurables. So they will plug in the numbers for a prospect and a grade will be given. After everything checks out, then they will decide if they want to put them on their radar.

Division 1 Colleges use the same standard. That’s why every year you see pro prospects from small schools become top picks because they “grew” into the position. You might have to go to a smaller division to play. If you excel they will find you. Many players end up at positions that they did’t play in high school.

5. Pray

This is so under rated but the most important. I’m not going to get into religion here, however, drawing on a higher power helps keep the athlete grounded. We use Jesus as our source of power.

 

Making it to the pros is a long shot, but so is becoming a doctor or a lawyer. No matter what we think. I have a really good friend that studied hard, got good grades, went to law school, graduated from law school, took the bar twice and failed both times. Fifteen years later he is no closer to practicing law than me.

Life is about taking chances…. you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The way our system is set up, you can at least get a college education if you don’t go pro.

Parents and students: “If you follow these rules you’ll have mad bread to break up!”- Notorious B.I.G.

“Get out on your grind and get it!” – Young Jeezy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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