The Three Factors of Athletic Development

How do athletes improve? What makes professional athletes so good? These are questions about athletic development. There are three factors of athletic development: genetics, freewill, and environment. Together, these three factors interact to develop athletes. Each athlete becomes who they are as a result of these three factors. Each athlete has their unique set of genes, freewill capabilities, and environment that makes them into the athlete that they are.

So the next question is, what are the specific types of genes, freewill, and environments that lead to the best athletic development? Every athlete and coach has their opinions about these questions. There are the common sense answers such as height (mainly caused by genes) helps in basketball, you need to work hard (freewill) to succeed, and it helps to have good teammates and coaches (environment). Many of the answers to these questions are specific to unique sports and unique individuals.

Another question that often comes up is which factor is most important. The answer usually depends on the sport and the individual. But in general, I personally believe that all three factors are about equally important. I think it is a mistake to over value one factor and ignore the others. It is only when each factor gets the attention that it deserves that athletes can reach their full potential.

 In the next few weeks, I will write about each of the three factors of athletic development.