08 May Run Your Race
Young athletes develop at different rates due to genetics and a wide array of biological factors. It’s important to be aware of this as an athlete, parent, and coach because it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing and measuring individual skills, and perceived talent amongst a group. The best and easiest reminder you can give yourself when you fall into this trap is to run your own race and nobody else’s. Time and time again parents, coaches, and athletes mistakenly equate long term potential to what they witness at the present moment. Some athletes will hit a late growth spurt in their high school or even university years while other athletes are 2 feet taller than their peers by Grade 6. In both cases the most important factor for the long term development of these athletes is to practice and build healthy habits that’ll last all throughout their athletic careers.
A late developing athlete should not compare themselves to anyone else as they can easily become discouraged so they need to be reminded of their own improvements. Where were they 6 months ago and where are they now? Measuring progress using self comparison is the best method for healthy development especially in the late developing athletes. It’s the best because it facilitates hea and is less likely to lead to athletes burning out, feeling discouraged.
An early maturing athlete who appears to show signs of “greatness” and potential needs to build habits of working hard and not let early success get to their head. It’s easy for these athletes who experience early success to not feel the need to have to work as hard as they are used to always receiving compliments from parents, teammates, and coaches as well as producing good results and/or statistics. These athletes need to be properly advised and taught to stay level headed. They too should only be comparing their progress with themselves rather than their peers.
Everyone has their own race to run; it’s never to be compared to anyone else’s.