If you want to be a good hockey player, gymnast, swimmer, basketball player, tennis player, badminton player, or runner, what do you need to do?
You need to be a good athlete.
First and foremost, being able to move athletically is key. Before you do good at a particular sport, being able to run, jump, and throw is key. Are you able to move with grace and fluidity, or are you an awkward mess of limbs when you move? Can you move within all planes of motion, not just one? These are questions that are required to be answered if you want to be good at any sport.
Being good at any sport is more than just the sport-specific skills. Having the right base is just as crucial.
Have you ever wondered why the same people seem to be the dominant ones in a gym class, no matter what sport is being played?
People seem surprised or impressed when they see that I’m able to play competently at badminton, tennis, squash, hockey, basketball, soccer, and more, while my actual primary sport is none of those, but running.
However, if you think about it, there’s nothing that surprising about it. I can do well in all of these sports because I’m a good athlete before anything else. I’ve established a good base, and this allows me to try many different sports and be good at them. From running, I’ve established a strong amount of endurance, and I’ve worked at also being quick with my feet. Combine speed with endurance, and you’ve got a recipe for a person being able to enter many different sports. Furthermore, if you add a good sense of proprioception into the mix, you’ve created a player that can be very dangerous in many sports.
This is all to say that when you establish the base, you’ve given yourself an advantage in any sport you do. Therefore, being good at running, jumping, throwing, and keeping your balance can be the greatest investment in your time you’ve ever made.
Before sport-specific skills, building that foundational base is key.