Response to ‘Why Jnr Results Don’t Matter’

I posted this article about why I don't care too much about a young Athlete's junior results.

The response and feedback has been great, not necessarily because people agree with me but because I have heard some great discussion on points I hadn't yet considered.

In other words, posting it has provoked a lot of thought.

Below is an email reply from Ben Cross (read this Q&A for some insight to a Player turning into a Coach).

To give some context to those who aren't familiar with National Rugby League in Australia:

  • Ben played at the professional level for 11 seasons and for 6 clubs in Australia and in the UK.
  • He was selected to play for the NSW Blues (2008) to play Queensland in what is generally regarded as the pinnacle match in League.
  • Ben won the NRL Premiership with the Melbourne Storm.

Simply, he could play.

Below are his thoughts as a Former Player, Parent and Junior Coach.

Hi Mate,

Terrific article and hits the nail on the head. 

Take my sons junior rugby league team.

In his side I'm the coach. There are 4 children, including my son, who's father player professional rugby league in the NRL (minimum 88 games) so they have been exposed and coached from the time they could walk.

The other 8 children have been with these boys for the past 2 seasons. They haven't lost a game in 3 years because they just understand the game better from a younger age.

And what I've seen in the last year, the boys of those dads that didn't play NRL are catching up to the other boys through coaching and maturing. 

I played with a number of very talented footy players at all high representative levels that never went on to do anything in NRL ('Senior ranks' - Grant)

I was a very good cricket player growing up; fully focused on cricket: all the rep teams training camps, summer after summer, but then I started to change shape and interest changed. 

I try to have my children playing a number of different sports, field-based evasive sports along with fixed-based sports cricket,  softball, running, tennis for a balance. 

The point should be allow your children to plays as many different sports as possible and eventually their body will tell them what there best at due to being able to do it well.

Kind regards, 

Ben Cross

Some things to note:

1) Early exposure can be a key factor in Junior Results.

2) BUT it evens out over time.

3) Ben played with a number of players who couldn't/didn't translate their Junior Results to Senior Results.

4) Don't close doors! Ben looked like he was heading in one direction but, due to a host of factors, changed direction. Luckily he didn't paint himself into a corner by ignoring other opportunities as they presented themselves.

5) Think holistically. Each sport can help develop other skills (social, technical, tactical, physical and mental) which can all contribute in the long run.

6) Anything stand out to you?

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Grant Jenkins is Physical Performance Coach who enjoys taking the journey with his young Athletes (and their Parents). For more information please contact him here or follow him on TwitterInstagram or Facebook.

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