Systems of sport – When is it genius and when is it crazy?

Since my youngest son Amani was 2, I had groomed him to be an All Black. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s an athlete that plays for the New Zealand Rugby Union team. A difficult challenge because they only select the best in New Zealand. We live in Melbourne, Australia. However, despite knowing nothing about sport, I had a plan and I was undeterred ….. Read obsessed!

My son and I often engage in verbal diarrhea about sport and it often ends with him exasperated and upset. Why? I am fastidious about technique and I will critique everyone including him, especially him. Today, without any venom, we were discussing cricket. For those who don’t know, it’s the game where 13 people are scattered about an oval grassy field. 2 are placed at opposite ends of a long strip, in the middle and another person runs at them and delivers a ball, really fast and, using a long bat, one of the 2, tries to hit it. I pointed out to him that, his batting technique in T20 matches is rubbish. His technique is suited to one day and two day matches, because he can take his time and place the ball, strategically around the field. As usual when we have such discussions, he was exasperated and today he threw at me that my system wasn’t as good as an AFL system. For those who don’t know, it’s a game where people run around a huge oval and kick a ball through upright goals, ideally.

I disagreed with him and I told him that my system was better than any one individual sports system, including or maybe it’s especially AFL! I reminded him that he learnt how to tackle, thanks to rugby league. He has ambidexterity and the capacity to leap, thanks to basketball. He has excellent reactive eye hand coordination, thanks to cricket. He has great running technique, thanks to athletics. Finally, although I
didn’t say it, he has great kicking ability, thanks to football (both the world game and the Aussie one). Once again, I repeated my statement that, my system was better than an AFL system.

My son left and I started writing this post. Initially, as you will have read, I defended my position. However, I actually began to question whether it was a great system. In light of the toll it took upon our family, I’d say no. In light of the toxic mind constructs, I once exhibited, I’d say no. In light of my failing to learn how to do things the easy way and falling back into the old habit of needing to be challenged, I’d say no. In light of not knowing how to focus on 1 sport and 1 team only, I’d say no. In light of my twiddling my thumbs, mystified as to how I help my son, I’d say no. It’s actually a case of genius being used unconsciously. Think, people who create and sell weapons. Make no mistake, my son is super weapon on the sport field. Fortunately, he’s a relatively clean player. Rarely does he engage in poor behaviour. On the field that is.

Then I was struck by the thought that, I can break up the one sport, into numerous activities …. I’m thinking, yoga, Pilates, weight training, running, football skills training and of course football training and matches. The beauty of it all is that, I don’t have to drive around Melbourne and pay other people thousands of dollars, as I can do everything, except footy training and matches, myself. Genius!!!! Maybe there is hope for me to learn how to do things the easy way!

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