YOU MAKE THE CALL!
Here is a question that continues to create heated arguments around coaching corners. I’m presenting it to you for your feedback. Here is this week’s tough to answer question:
Do you always teach the correct mechanics to kids, as they are young and learning the sport? Can you let them develop their own style that could be so unique that they would perform with a slight edge and would be difficult for an opponent to stop?
Tim Tebow might be the perfect example of “having his own style”. Tim Tebow has captured the eyes of America these past few months. We have all watched him with hope and excitement that a “non-conventional” kind of quarterback can make it in the NFL.
As a matter of fact it has been suggested that the Denver Broncos gave Tebow the starting position at quarterback so that the Broncos organization could prove to Tebow and the Tebow loving community that he would fail. This then would end the Broncos community pressure of giving Tebow his chance. They thought that giving Tebow his chance and watching him fail would put an end to this “give Tebow a chance” pressure.
They didn’t think he would make it as an NFL quarterback because his mechanics were different and not within the style of other successful quarterbacks.
Well, he has proved the skeptics wrong.
So, what would have happened if some coach along the way changed his throwing motion, or his release, or some of the other “unique” components of his game. Would he have been as successful?
What about all these professional baseball pitchers who throw that awkward looking (but tough to hit) side arm pitch?
When you have a 12 year old who is throwing side arm from the mound, do you change it? Would that potentially put an end to his unique pitching style that could possibly give him that edge to be different, tough to hit, and a future Cy Young Award winner?
Look at Craig Counsell; he played 15 years of pro baseball with the most awkward looking hitting stance ever to make it in the “bigs”.
I remember many kids going to the baseball diamond and trying to emulate that same swing, and then watching all the youth baseball coaches correcting and not letting them use his stance. Could this stance have served a few kids more hits and a successful baseball career, only to be halted by a volunteer dad who played a little bit of 5th grade baseball many years ago?
What about watching Jack Sikma, and Jamaal Wilkes shoot the basketball in the 1980’s? Their mechanics violated the correct form that we teach our kids today.
As a matter of fact, I work hours each day teaching kids the correct mechanics and the proper form for shooting a basketball. Am I tarnishing the hopeful career of the next Jack Sikma, Jamaal Wilkes, or even the more recent Shawn Marion?
Or is it our responsibility to teach them correctly as it already is a very small percentage that will make it to the higher levels of sports? If the percentage of correct form users is already so low, imagine what the percentage is for those with incorrect form.
It’s a numbers game, but I am for teaching the correct mechanics. This is their best chance at being successful.
So, what do you think, should we teach the correct form and mechanics? Or, should we let the kids find their own way, experiment and find what works best for them?
Is there a time or place when athleticism trumps mechanics?
Are you enabling or disarming the next Tim Tebow?
Email me with your thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org.