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Failure to Specialize

Not long ago I was on an international flight sitting next to an Australian woman who began to tell me about her 12 year old daughter.  The young girl was described as very tall, already almost 6 ft, and struggling in women’s basketball and a derivative of basketball, netball.  As her mother elaborated, "she lacks that competitive spirit and is very easily shaken during games especially when there's alot of physical contact."

I probed a bit and asked very pointedly, “Is she good?”.  This mother was a former college basketball player, coach for another team, and very obviously a competitor herself so I expected a serious answer.  “No, not really. But she's a great athlete” the mother replied.  I said, “That’s great. Take her out of basketball as soon as you can.”

This came as a big shock to the woman because not only did this particular sport lineage exist in their family, but she was concerned because her daughter had “played her whole life”.  At 12 years old, it was both funny and sad.  She hasn’t had enough time on this earth to limit herself to just one sport, particularly when it was obvious that she was not enjoying it.  After discussing her strengths and weaknesses at length, I suggested that she get her daughter in volleyball as soon as possible.  She had an excellent vertical, great reaction time, and was more of a quiet calculated type of athlete.

About 2 months later, I received an email thanking me for the consultation and that her daughter was enrolled in volleyball and excelling at it.  She was enjoying competition for the first time and improving more than ever.


Failure is your friend.

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A strength and conditioning coach since 2009, Cali has worked with numerous athletes spanning from rugby players to cross country skiers.Almost immediately after finding CrossFit in 2010, she was introduced to a program that better suited her athletic goals.With her existing background in powerlifting and football, she became a natural devotee to CFFB/PowerAthlete and testament to it's effectiveness.In 2012, she left D.C. and headed for the state named after her to be a part of the CrossFit Football Seminar Staff and a Jedi of Power Athlete HQ. Cali currently resides in Seattle where she works full time in law enforcement.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

9 Responses to Failure to Specialize

  1. I stopped reading after the part where you converted the daughter to volleyball. Because it really doesn’t get any more elite than that.

  2. Cali may I share this with my members? Thanks. I always enjoy reading your articles.

  3. Great article and this needs to be stated more regularly to the population as a whole. It is never talked about in detail when adults make the transition to something they are better suited for, yet many parents still specialize their kids at an early age. Examples include sprinters who can’t quite make the cut yet are great from bobsled teams (i.e. Cool Runnings), collegiate basketball players that couldn’t go any further on the court that convert to Football (Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas, etc..), and multiple other examples. This is why I like to preach “focus” sports. Have your kid play as many sports at an early age as possible and begin to narrow it down as they get older. In highschool if there is still legit enjoyment by the kid to play multiple sports awesome keep playing them, however, if they are wanting to pursue a certain one at the next level this now needs to be the “focus” sport. This is the sport you are going to focus your strength and conditioning program around, you are going to play in the off-season and stay up on even during the other sports. One of my biggest pet peeves is when an athlete states that they want to play basketball in college yet they are also playing travel baseball in the summer and going to football exposure/skill camps now this is limiting our time for specific S&C for bball and skill development.

  4. Chad

    I peg you for a Zangief user, you no phone coverin commie bastard!

  5. Cas

    Great article Cali,
    I’m from down under and will take you up on that street fighter challenge.

  6. Cas

    Hi Cali great article,

    I’m from down under and will take you up on that street fighter challenge ryu in the house

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