Multilateral development is a theory which urges young athletes to participate in several sports over their childhood and adolescent periods prior to specializing in one. The basis is that varied athletic stimulus will serve to broaden the youngsters’ ‘warehouse’ or ‘portfolio’ of general athletic ability and develop a thorough or expansive base on which to build and eventually specialize. While the concepts are well known and the research citing success far reaching, it is still not an embraced reality within North American youth sports.By examining elite athletics, you can most certainly see the impact that multilateral development can have -Michael Jordan – played baseball and football as a youthDave Winfield – a multi-sport phenomenon drafted by the NBA in addition to MLBGary Roberts – an esteemed NHL veteran, played lacrosse at a high level as a youthKurt Browning – 4-time world figure skating champion was an avid hockey and baseball playerWhile these are just a few examples, the reality is that elite athletics is dominated by individuals who participated in more than one sport as kids. By no means am I suggesting that excelling in more than one sport is important, but actively participating in a variety of athletic endeavors as you grow physiologically and psychologically is key. These realities extend beyond just developing good athletic ability. In fact, one of the problems I’ve encountered and often explained to parents and coaches in youth training seminars is that there is more than just a physical burn-out associated with specialized sporting endeavors.The obvious key is that specialization will result in a decreased amount of overall athletic ability which will inevitably become a hindrance as young athletes mature. In my experience, the athletes with the most diverse athletic history are often better equipped to learn and develop skills at the higher ends of a given sport once specialization has been determined. Above and beyond that however, there is also a mental stimulation component to athletic development. If baseball is a 12 month sport, for example, at what point does a 9 year old begin to lose interest?To answer that question, just think about the average 9 year olds attention span in general. That’s not to say that your 9 year old isn’t truly enjoying every second of playing baseball throughout the year, but inevitably, he will be ‘enjoying’ the game and ‘focusing’ on it more at certain points and less at others – that’s the nature of being a kid. It’s in these down times that bad and lazy habits can be developed. Keeping a youngster truly energized and excited about playing and learning new skills is a key component to athletic development that is very often overlooked.Another overlooked feature of why multilateral development remains the best option for young people is the tactical aspects associated with sport. Even if your son engages in numerous other informal modes of athletic stimulus, he is only being truly challenged with the tactics and game speed of baseball. Baseball is a notoriously slow game, especially at the youth level. Developing optimal ‘quick-wittedness’ and ‘game smarts’ may best be done via participation is several sports. My point here is that the arguments either for or against multilateral development are typically waged on the physical spectrum. In reality, the successful development of a young athlete is also heavily influenced by items such as mental and emotional perspicacity and tactical (sporting) smarts.While the multilateral development versus early specialization debate tends to wage endlessly in North America, other nations have adopted its concepts and applied its principals, due to both practical success as well as scientific research.Dr. Michael Yessis in his wonderful book, “Secrets of Soviet Sports & Fitness Training”, offers this input -“Sport scientists. have found that athletes benefit from participating in sports other than the one in which they specialize. By doing so, the can tap a broader array of physiological skill, as well as take advantage of a psychological relaxing diversion. It’s common for (Soviet trained athletes), for example, to play twenty minutes of basketball as part of a warm-up of their day-to-day training sessions, (even if they are wrestlers)..(In the west), the tendency is to believe that the way to become a good runner, for instance, is to run, run and run some more. The Soviets, however, know that during certain periods of the training program, there are other sports that can be used to help make a runner quicker and more flexible, thus developing the all- around physical qualities needed to be a champion”.The former Soviet Union and other members of the Eastern Bloc are not the only nations that adhere to developmental principals. Australia is perhaps the best current day example of the power of a strong, national development system. Guided by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), a National Talent Identification and Development program has been institute country-wide and in conjunction with state and territory governments. The Talent Search, as it is referred to, is a coordinated effort to search for the sporting talent in Australia’s young people. The program is designed to help sports identify talented athletes (ranging in age from 11 – 20) and assist in preparing them for domestic, national and international competition. Young athletes are guided through developmental programs which facilitate giving them the best opportunity to realize their sporting potential.In the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the United States lead all nations in total medals won with 199. In fourth place, Australia’s athletes collected 115 medals.With a population of 19, 546, 792 people, Australia has 271,280, 551 fewer people than the United States. With 14 times fewer people, they won only 84 medals less than the United States.Developmental strategies work.
The only way to make money betting on sports long term is to stick to straight bets. If you are a parlay bettor, you may hit a few nice ones once in awhile, but you will definitely lose money in the long run. The sports books make their money on parlay bettors, just look around any Las Vegas sports book and you can see stacks full of parlay cards everywhere, especially during football season.You should probably learn to handicap one sport at a time. The way I went about it was to become very proficient handicapping NBA totals. After that, I moved on to other sports like college football and baseball. During the fall, you have baseball’s post season, the NFL regular season, and the NBA regular season in full swing. I advise that you stick to one of them until you are comfortable branching out to the others. There are enough opportunities in one sport to make plenty of plays so no need to spread yourself too thin.One thing about handicapping sports is that it is a time-consuming hobby, or profession if you decide to take it that far. You must stay abreast of everything happening in order to have the biggest edge you can get. The people that make the betting lines on the games have access to tons of information and you should always try to stay ahead of the curve, if possible.There are many factors that go into handicapping a game. Depending on which sport you choose, you should find a method that fits your personality. I am a numbers guy and maybe that’s why I like NBA totals. I make my own numbers (totals) on the games and then compare them to the numbers that the books have up. If there is a big enough difference, I bet accordingly. There are factors like injuries, coaching and lineup changes, recent form, and revenge situations so these should be part of your handicapping routine along with other information that is available on line such as average points, trends, etc.If you would like to have someone else do the work, you can sign up for a service like the one listed below. There are a million sports handicapping services on the Internet and you should be wary of anybody claiming to hit unrealistic numbers or percentages. Anybody who claims 87% winners over the course of a season or year is most likely not telling the truth, obviously.
The ultimate competition in any sport is, of course, the Olympic Games where Equestrian Sports are one of the oldest categories. The horse’s involvement in the Olympics dates back almost 3,000 years. Horse sports were incorporated into the Olympic Games shortly after their initial inception when the four horse chariot race was introduced. In fact when you think of the Olympics, the huge stadium or hippodrome is one of the most powerful images. The word “hippodrome” which describes an open air sports stadium with a track around the edge, comes from the Greek word “hippos” for horse and “dromos” for racecourse. The equestrian events are made up of three disciplines – dressage, show jumping and the three-day event which includes both the other disciplines together with a grueling cross country ride over testing jumps. Each of the disciplines has both an individual and a team competition.Dressage is often referred to as ‘horse ballet’. It is a training method designed to develop a horse’s natural abilities and responsiveness to instructions from the rider. The original intent was to train the horse to make it easy to ride in any circumstances, and to enhance the horse’s natural gymnastic abilities. The earliest roots of modern dressage go back to very clearly defined sequential training methods used by riding masters in Europe and classical dressage techniques are still viewed as an important part of the sport today.Show jumping is probably the most commonly recognised of the principal equestrian sports – who has not tried to mentally lift a horse over a huge jump when watching it on TV? Competitions vary in style and type but basically the horse and rider have to follow a prescribed path around the ring, jumping each of the obstacles in turn. Most exciting are the Puissance events where the fences grow ever higher round by round, or the mad dash around the shortened courses when more than one horse has had a clear round and a winner has to be found.The Cross Country event is both an endurance test, and an examination of the teamwork developed between horse and rider as they make their way around a long and varied course with demanding obstacles. Event horses have to be at the peak of physical fitness as do their riders – they are the decathletes of the equine world. Horses are carefully monitored to ensure that they come to no harm during these events.Equestrian Sports are one of the very few Olympic events where men and women compete on equal terms. In fact over recent years the number of women competing has dramatically increased with around 80 percent of the competitors now being female. This has brought about many changes in the way the sport is developing. Far more emphasis is being placed on fitness, diet and exercise for both horse and rider, rather than just sheer physical strength. Equestrianism is one of the ultimate in team sports, a horse and rider work together for years to develop their skills, combining grace and delicacy with endurance and strength in a way that no other sport can, it is the only Olympic sport where man and animal are established team-mates on an equal footing as the one cannot take part without the other.