Have you ever noticed that some people excel at sports with great aplomb and confidence while others may lack confidence or are always second rate players? I bet if you were to make a graph of the most successful football, basketball or hockey athletes, you will find that most of them have something in common: The months they were born.
Let’s say that you want to enroll your child into a little league team. The rules may be that your child has to be ten years old to join the team and the enrollment date is June first. Little Johnny turns ten on June first so he has no problem signing up for the team. Billy turns ten on June second so, he has to wait another whole year before he is eligible to sign up.
That means, next year, when he is finally old enough to join, he is ten years old just like everyone else who is signing up but, in reality, the next day, he will be one year older than most of the other kids. He will also be one year larger, stronger, smarter and wiser. He has a distinct time advantage of one year over his “peers” who are seemingly the same age.
Most likely he will be better than his peers in every aspect of the game and his coaches will quickly recognize his superiority and use him more. This will further his self confidence as praise engenders confidence while reducing the confidence of the “younger” players who may receive less attention, less favor and be used less often on the field or court. This innocent practice of segregating athletes by a date patently delineates and expands the gulf in the skill level between the two “equals.”
I was a January baby. My parents had the choice of allowing me to start kindergarten at the age of four and turning five halfway through the school year or waiting a year so that I would start school at the age of five but turning six halfway through. They opted for the first and as a result, I was always a little bit larger, faster and stronger than my peers. In the ninth grade I was on the track team with the eleventh and twelfth grade kids because I was faster than the kids in the ninth and tenth grade track teams. My skills were further augmented by the coach giving me passes out of study hall and on occasion some of my classes so that I could get additional workout time with the team. This was great for my self esteem since I was the best in my field among my class. It was also bad for my self esteem because the coach made me the worse on the field as I competed against the older kids. Because of my slight age advantage, I was also the first to get my license, the first to get a car and the first to drink as 18 was the legal age back then. Although, all my friends were drinking long before that. It also didn’t hurt that my dad would take me out driving when I was only fourteen.
So, if you want your child to be the best athlete in their/your chosen sport, either make note of what months the best athletes in that sport have been born in, or find out when sign ups are for that sport. Then all you have to do is add one month, subtract nine, and pursue your procreation activities accordingly [Insert wink, wink here]. It also won’t hurt to give them Feldenkrais lessons so they have ergonomic prowess over their peers and will stand less of a chance at developing ligament and cartilage damage at a young age.