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dadinsavannah

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Reply with quote  #41 
Quote:
Originally Posted by geneseo

Quote:
Originally Posted by themuzicman
I dunno...

I still wonder what US Soccer would be like if athletes like Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson had taken up soccer rather than basketball, and put the same passion into it. 

Muz

 

I don't really think about it too much.  But now and then it is brought up here and elsewhere.  Some time back I read about some kid from Milwaukee or Green Bay that hadn't played soccer until somewhere between 14 and 18 and is now playing in England in the 1st or 2nd division.  He said he had no skill, just pure speed.

 

You hear things like that, then you go watch a major college basketball game or NBA game from the first ten rows and you just can't believe how fast those guys are.  I saw Mookie Blalock play against Bulls about eight years ago from the 11th row.  Jaw dropping speed, especially changing direction.  I also got to watch Dee Brown and the Illini practice once.  You just can't describe or even realize the kind of speed that Brown has until you're next to it.  I remember watching and wondering how Beasley's speed compared and then asking my son how he'd like to deal with a forward that had that kind of speed.

 

I'm not going to sit and moan about who plays what.  That is the athlete's decision and I wish all kids success in whatever sport they choose to play.  But I do hope someday that soccer in the US is attractive enough to draw those players that are a little too short for major college basketball.

 

 

It is unbelievable if you ever get to play with this type of athlete.  In college my intramural basketball team play the football teams intramural basketball team.  Except for a few exceptions, they were all journeyman college lineman types, just big and strong.  I expected them to be slugs.  Man, they could fly, they could dribble, they could shoot.  The embarassment was over in the first five minutes, then it was just fun to play with that kind of athlete.

 

Played in a softball tournament against the baseball team's team.  Hit a hard one hopper square between the 3rd baseman and the shortstop.  The 3rd baseman scooped it easily and the shortstop was squared up behind him to cover.  I walked off shaking my head, "I can't hit it any better than that..."

 

All of those athletes could have been good soccer players if thats what they started young.  Some develop bodies better suited for other sports, but athleticism (speed, quickness, coordination, vision) works for any sport, just add training, and top with many thousand repetitions!

 

Bobby

JohnR

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Reply with quote  #42 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dadinsavannah
The embarassment was over in the first five minutes, then it was just fun to play with that kind of athlete.

I played touch football and 1v1 basketball with a 5' 8" guy who washed out of NASL after 2 years due to a lack of quickness. He had the touch and read the game well, but he said he wasn't athletic enough to play professional soccer.

 

Forget about it, he just juked everybody for a touchdown every time he got the ball in the touch football game, and was far too quick & shifty for anybody to guard in the basketball game.

 

That was when I developed an appreciation for how much athleticism is required even for sports that are thought of as "skill" sports, such as soccer.

MikeyS

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Reply with quote  #43 

I would certainly make the argument that Aussie rules players followed very closely by rugby leaguers arer the "thoroughbreds" of the athletic world.  I know in North America we don't get the opportunity often too see these men in action but if you ever get the opportunity, watch a match.    Even if you watch some Super-14 rugby, watch the loose forwards and what there work rates are around the paddock.  Those guys are likewise phenomenal.    I'm stunned at all the people talking about gridiron as well.  Heck, they are possibly the least fit professional athletes out there!  (There are exceptions of course!)


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footster

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Reply with quote  #44 

There are so many things going into being an elite athlete.  What appears as poorly conditioned for what a touch, Le Tessier in his prime, is a level of fitness most cannot attain period. 

 

A soccer player needs a VO2 max in the 60-65 range.  That would be rather useless for a high level cyclist.  Rugby and football players can exist and thrive somewhat lower, in the 55 range. 

 

The normal excellent score for a 20-29 male is 46.5 to 52.4.

 

When I was a more serious player my ability to just outwork folks was a key asset.  I was tested once, socring a 59.6 at my peak.  It just allowed me to get to more, a bit early, than others.  Once I was up against elite folks I got killed b/c I didn't have the skills.  Against most folks, it looked like I had the skill, but really, is was the free time on the ball.  Like a 17 year old playing a 12 year old looking good.  Very misleading.

 

Michael Jordon couldn't hit minor league curve ball.  And George Best was phenominally fit early on.  Same for Maradona.  Maradona's heavy, coked up body was still able to manage feats of magic. 

 

I hope for England's sake Rooney learns to eat and live right. 

WillieB

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Reply with quote  #45 
Quote:
Originally Posted by geneseo

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillieB
...good soccer foot-skills do not equate to any other sport that I know of. 

Good feet are good for all sports I know of.

 

 

There's a difference between "good soccer foot skills" and "good feet".  Tell me another sport where the feet are the prime tools used to propel the object?  Ballet dancers have good feet skills but I doubt they'd make good soccer players on that alone.


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thoughtsoc

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Reply with quote  #46 

I'm trying to sort out the meanings of different concepts, in case that helps the discussion.  There seem to be some different possible meanings.

 

First of all, the term "best athlete" seems difficult if not impossible to define apart from the particular sport in question.  There seems to be no way to say that the best quarterback is a better athlete than the best sprinter, shortstop, or striker.  Perhaps the term "best all around athlete" is a little less fuzzy, and that's probably what I was thinking of when favoring basketball.  Sprinters and marathoners are obviously in great shape, but their most important moving part is their legs.  Baseball players need great timing and reflexing, and do a bit of movement of course, but their hand/eye coordination and various arm movements are most important.  Basketball players, I think, require more of the whole package: endurance running, sprinting, jumping, thowing/passing, upper body strength, hand/eye coordination, etc.

 

Is the intent of the post to explore which sport requires the best athletes, and/or develops the best athletes, in which case I'd go with basketball? 

 

Or is the intent to explore which sport the best potential athletes seem to be choosing.  For this, we'd be talking about youngsters who have great potential, little Michael Jordans and Wayne Gretskys, who haven't made up their minds yet.  I'm not sure there is any real way to identify such star potential before it's been displayed in a particular sport.  But surely financial/cultural factors will come into play here.  If you grow up in Brazil, you're probably not going to dream of playing wide receiver for the Washington Redskins.  If you grow up in the U.S., you'll be tempted to follow the money.

dadinsavannah

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Reply with quote  #47 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thoughtsoc

I'm trying to sort out the meanings of different concepts, in case that helps the discussion.  There seem to be some different possible meanings.

 

First of all, the term "best athlete" seems difficult if not impossible to define apart from the particular sport in question.  There seems to be no way to say that the best quarterback is a better athlete than the best sprinter, shortstop, or striker.  Perhaps the term "best all around athlete" is a little less fuzzy, and that's probably what I was thinking of when favoring basketball.  Sprinters and marathoners are obviously in great shape, but their most important moving part is their legs.  Baseball players need great timing and reflexing, and do a bit of movement of course, but their hand/eye coordination and various arm movements are most important.  Basketball players, I think, require more of the whole package: endurance running, sprinting, jumping, thowing/passing, upper body strength, hand/eye coordination, etc.

 

Is the intent of the post to explore which sport requires the best athletes, and/or develops the best athletes, in which case I'd go with basketball? 

 

Or is the intent to explore which sport the best potential athletes seem to be choosing.  For this, we'd be talking about youngsters who have great potential, little Michael Jordans and Wayne Gretskys, who haven't made up their minds yet.  I'm not sure there is any real way to identify such star potential before it's been displayed in a particular sport.  But surely financial/cultural factors will come into play here.  If you grow up in Brazil, you're probably not going to dream of playing wide receiver for the Washington Redskins.  If you grow up in the U.S., you'll be tempted to follow the money.

This is a huge factor, not only the $$$, but the idol factor.  Many, but not all, good athletes in the US are playing soccer at least briefly as they grow up.  Social forces will pull them to the glamour sports as they grow up.  As a friend of mine said about my young son, "One day he'll figure out what field the cheerleaders are on."  Right now, girls still have cooties so he follows his heart to the pitch.

 

Bobby

mzbrand

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Reply with quote  #48 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WillieB

There's a difference between "good soccer foot skills" and "good feet". Tell me another sport where the feet are the prime tools used to propel the object? Ballet dancers have good feet skills but I doubt they'd make good soccer players on that alone.



Heh -- I know coaches that invite ballet dancers to come work with their girls. I often describe soccer in terms of ballet with my girls.

Not that the foot skills are the same, but the required balance, poise, and agility are very similar (my oldest is a dancer).

But we're talking about the basic clay from which athletes are formed. Of course a ballerina wouldn't make a good soccer player without training. But that doesn't mean that the same child couldn't excel at both due because of natural ability.

WillieB

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Reply with quote  #49 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mzbrand

But we're talking about the basic clay from which athletes are formed. Of course a ballerina wouldn't make a good soccer player without training. But that doesn't mean that the same child couldn't excel at both due because of natural ability.

 

Thanks, exactly my point that there's more to being a good soccer player than being a good athlete in fact I'd go as far as to say there are many above-average soccer players who are not up tere on athletic ability


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paulee

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Reply with quote  #50 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGiss

Success breeds success and many kids choose sports with winning recors for no other reason than that.

This and social pressure are spot on.  When our HS program was started, the AD told the boys coach that he would never get the best athletes because we were a football town.  With 3 exceptions, he's been right.  I do have a question raised by this thread, though.  What qualities would you consider make a great athlete?  I'd have to say:

Speed

Quickness

Balance

Coordination

Strength

VO2 max

Hand-eye coordination

Foot-eye coordination

Mentality


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GHMANEGER

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Reply with quote  #51 

At some point of time it comes to this:

 

1.Adaptability

 

2.The ability to outlearn anyone else.

 

 

That's why unintelegent players (and I do not mean problematic) are not able to be playing in a higher level than their natural talent showed them too.


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Maddog

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Reply with quote  #52 

Soccer has the best athletes? What a load of crap at least in the US. Not even close to the best athletes. What the US soccer player brings to the table is superior conditioning to many this appears that they are the best athletes. My last boys side had several play pointy and all they complained about at soccer practice was how pointy was killing their conditioning. Like wise my son was a sprinter on the track team an often complained of the lack of work they did. This is why many think soccer players are better athletes. It has been mentioned that many African Americans do not chose to play soccer and they are often in the top 10 % of our best athletes, I have seen this countywide. Biggest drawback is that the African American community sees no economic advantage in having their children play the game. Football , basketball, and baseball offer much more in return on the $$.

Couple that with the ridiculous high cost to parents to play soccer at higher levels and you have eliminated many minority players.

MikeS

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Reply with quote  #53 

Quote:
originally posted by Maddog

Football , basketball, and baseball offer much more in return on the $$.

Couple that with the ridiculous high cost to parents to play soccer at higher levels and you have eliminated many minority players.

 

 

Baseball and basket ball players aren't bound to local teams in order to show off their wares. They show themselves in various venues as individuals at camps and open or individual tournaments. The cost for the best of them is the same or higher but they don't have to belong to a cooperative. I know one baseball parent that probably has ten thou invested in his kid and he got $175,000 to sign and play with a farm team. Not bad for a 17 year old.


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Bird1812

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Reply with quote  #54 

Would Garrincha be considered a good athlete?  The reason I ask is because I was listening to Fox Fone In last night and one of the guys was speaking about Garrincha, how he had a defect in his spine and how one leg was shorter than the other (6 inches shorter according to the Fox guy, but that has got to be an exaggeration).  It seems to me that there are many examples of great soccer players with similar athletic issues that they had to overcome, yet whenever anyone uses these players as examples, someone is bound to say, "Well they had to be good athletes otherwise they wouldn't have gotten as far as they did." 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by geneseo

You hear things like that, then you go watch a major college basketball game or NBA game from the first ten rows and you just can't believe how fast those guys are........   

I thought the same thing this summer watching Khano Smith play for the Revolution.  When you see him up close and personal you realize he is a lot faster than when you see him in a game on TV.  But, one wouldn't include him among the top soccer players even in MLS.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddog

Soccer has the best athletes? What a load of crap at least in the US. Not even close to the best athletes.

 

Maddog, you seem to miss the point of my original post.  It reflects the observations of a fitness trainer, a youth baseball, football and lacrosse coach, a physical educator with a college degree and a better than average athlete himself.  He's not addressing soccer players who have remained with the sport into adulthood.  He's speaking of kids today in my part of the world who are choosing to play soccer, but in the past would have chosen to play other sports.  He is envious of soccer and I don't mean that in a negative sense.   But now it's up to those in the US soccer world to somehow retain these kids. 


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bman

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Reply with quote  #55 

I was cleaning out some papers over the weekend and stumbled across an old  listing of all the 5 and 6 year old boys and girls signed up to play indoor soccer at the local YMCA. These kids are now 11 and 12.  Two things were interesting about the list. First was the number of kids from the list that are still playing.  Over 25%. A number of them are considered to be good athletes in soccer and other sports also.  Second was that, sadly, all the African-American kids on the list have left soccer.  Two of those boys that I am familar with from basketball are considered to be very good athletes, but they play pointy in the fall.

 

I realize my limited sample means nothing, but I found it fascinating anyway.   

Bird1812

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Reply with quote  #56 

Here is a statistic mentioned in a Times Online article ( http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,27-2530219,00.html  referencing the problems in England:

 

Quote:

.........the kind of statistic presented to Brooking recently: that 60 per cent of 11-year-olds leaving primary school are physically illiterate, which means that they do not possess the basics of physical movement — agility, balance and co-ordination.

 

I believe this is what the fitness coach I mentioned may also see, but less so for those kids that are playing soccer than most other youth sports. If you were to rate the importance of agility, balance and co-ordination to a youth sport, what order would you place sports such as soccer, basketball, football, baseball or hockey? 


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Maddog

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Reply with quote  #57 
Bird I did get the point of your post. I concur that many find the youth soccer player much better conditioned, I have seen that across the US. However soccer doesn't attract the best athletes often begining very young. As I travel and watch youth games the # of minority athletes in the upper levels of youth soccer is dramatic in their absence, the older the age group the less likely to see minority players in youth play. Because we do a poor job of recruiting these players into the game, not to mention, keeping them in the game soccer suffers from the inability to have better athletes on the professional sides. I don't see a quick fix to this problem. Many things have been tried, intercity clubs etc with mixed results. I'm afraid that the culture of the game is what holds back the US.
JohnR

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Reply with quote  #58 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddog
Because we do a poor job of recruiting these players into the game, not to mention, keeping them in the game soccer suffers from the inability to have better athletes on the professional sides.

So the German, Italian, and Portugese World Cup semifinalists lacked athleticism because their players are white?

Maddog

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Reply with quote  #59 

Now this quote"

.........the kind of statistic presented to Brooking recently: that 60 per cent of 11-year-olds leaving primary school are physically illiterate, which means that they do not possess the basics of physical movement — agility, balance and co-ordination. "

 

Is one I whole heartedly agree with, there is very little physical education in elementary or middle/jr. high/high school today as compared with my generation. We are raising sedimentary children.

JohnR

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Reply with quote  #60 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddog
We are raising sedimentary children.
 

 

You mean "sedentary," but "sedimentary" is an inspired mistake! I can just see those kids, lying in neat rows, stacked upon each other.

 

Yeah, yeah, I know, your English sure beats my Dutch. Or my any other language for that matter.

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