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What It Takes to Go Pro

26 Jul

*Nov 25 - 00:05*

By William Bixby

Getting to the professional level of any sport is a difficult, but attainable goal for many athletes. However, there are certain qualities, both physical and mental, that are necessary in order for that goal to be reached. The athlete must have the requisite amount of size and talent, they must have a good enough work ethic, and they must choose the right path to get to the highest level of their sport. Many athletes fail in one or more of these categories and thus never fulfill the accomplishments that their natural ability should afford them. Only through strict adherence to these guidelines can any athlete achieve their goals in sports.

This may seem fairly obvious, but in order for any person to become a professional athlete in any sport, they must have at least the minimum amount of natural talent and size in order to compete in the sport. Basketball players generally have to be well over six feet tall, strong, very coordinated, and quick on their feet. Football players sometimes have less height and coordination than basketball players, but have to be stronger and just as quick as basketball players. Baseball players are usually either average athletes and great hitters, or great athletes and average hitters. Their athleticism depends solely on their position (short stops and center fielders have to be athletic). Professional track athletes rarely get smaller than 5’7″ or taller than 6’4″, but their explosiveness is unrivaled in most sports. In general, the more size that an athlete has in any sport other than track, the less athleticism they have to possess. For example, a seven footer on the basketball court does not have to have a 40″ vertical leap or be extremely agile because his size gives him natural advantages, but a guy who is 5’7″ has to have blinding speed and quickness and an above average vertical to compete. In football, a man who weighs 300+ lbs. does not need to run as fast as the smaller guys who play skills positions. Having the appropriate size and talent is the first precursor to making the pros.

Being in close proximity to a former professional athlete or someone who had the talent to play professionally but failed, is the second prerequisite to playing sports at the highest level. Great amateur players usually have great role models. The media would have you believe that all of the professional athletes that you see on television come from single parent homes where their strict mother worked three jobs while putting her children through school. While the publicized cases of successful single parents who raised professional athletes are admirable, they are not the norm amongst professional athletes. Most athletes who are paid to play sports came from a two parent home where they had rules, role models, and direction. The structure that these players received in their homes produced a work ethic that fueled their improvement in their sport. According to Malcolm Gladwell, in order to become an expert in anything, you have to spend a minimum of 10,000 hours performing the act. A lucrative pro career is completely dependent on a strong work ethic which is instilled by good role models.

The final deciding factor in whether an athlete will play professionally is his path to the league. Talent by itself is not enough to play in the highest leagues unless you are a seminal talent like LeBron James or Alex Rodriguez. Most athletes have to follow the proper course in order to get the right exposure to their dream job. Most players have to play four years of high school ball, then play at least three years of college ball in order to be drafted by a franchise in football. In sports like baseball and basketball, the way that they choose candidates has completely changed. Whereas the conventional rule for MLB and NBA general managers regarding the drafting of talent was to find the most productive players from big conferences and draft them, management now leans towards finding physical gifts and intangibles in players instead of only using the players’ current production. The GM’s of today value potential over production. However, the path to the pros is still through the big programs. Division one athletes play on television more which gives them more exposure, they have better teammates which draws the attention of scouts, and they play against better competition which hones their skills. Any athlete that wants to go pro should consider their school carefully. Even when athletes enter a great Division one school, there are other factors that they must consider to be successful. Does the style of play at the school match their style of play? Rajon Rondo idled under Tubby Smith at Kentucky and almost missed his chance to play in the NBA. But, he has become one of the best young stars in the NBA under Doc Rivers. Tubby’s teams played slow. Doc preferred a faster pace. Some coaches stifle the play of their students. Some coaches have a reputation of sending overrated players into the next level. All these things must be considered when choosing the right path for an athlete.

If a player is talented enough to excel at sports and adheres to these basic tenets, he or she should eventually be paid for his or her profession. The path to the pros is not impossible, but it is filled with obstacles. Learn your craft, put in the hours to hone your skills, choose the right school for you, and you could become a pro.

Tom Brady is NOT Joe Montana

25 Jul

brady-montana

I fully respect New England Patriots owner Tom Kraft for lionizing his starting quarterback Tom Brady, but unfortunately his opinions are 100% inaccurate.  On August 31st, 2015 Kraft told NFL.com:

I think that Tommy, with all due respect, is better than Joe Montana.  I know that’s a leap, but I really think he might already be the best of all time. I watch how involved he is, how driven he is. He’s like Belichick, he’s into the details. And he’s got a skill that makes him so special; he can process all of it so quickly. And then, he’s just got that quality. Certain people have that sincerity. He’s a very genuine guy. People can relate to him. People can trust him.

 

I can imagine being around Brady for over a decade is amazing.  He’s obviously very physically gifted, he’s a tremendous leader, he’s certainly an extremely hard worker, he’s done things no other quarterback has ever done before, and most especially he’s made Kraft a hell of a lot of money.  It’s easy to see how Kraft could be biased towards his employee, but by no measure is Brady the best ever.  Sorry Mr. Kraft, sorry deluded Patriots fan, and sorry love struck bimbos who think Brady is oh so dreamy.  Just to be fair, here is a completely objective comparison of Brady to Montana.

 

Who can argue against perfection?

 

4-0 vs. 3-2*

This essentially ends the argument.  Montana has never lost a Super Bowl, has 3 MVPs in those games, and has never thrown an interception in his four appearances.  Essentially he rises to the occasion when the stakes are highest.  Brady is in rare company with his 3 championships, but 2 blemishes means he will never equal Joe.  This is no different than Kobe Bryant’s quest to equal MJ.  Michael Jordan never lost in the finals, yet Kobe has already lost twice.  No matter how many rings he wins, they will never be on the same plane.  What’s most glaring about Brady’s losses is that they are to the same person, Eli Manning.  Manning has played four less years than Brady, assuming he wins another Super Bowl and Brady does not, his record in the big game would be 3-0.  Would this not usurp Brady’s playoff accomplishments?  Think about that for a second.

 

It’s actually still possible Eli could surpass Brady

 

Stats

By standard measures Brady’s stats are far superior to Montana’s.  Career yards, TDs, completion percentage, QB rating, yards/game, and interceptions all favor Brady.  The same is true if one looks at single season yards, TDs, completions, and rating.  The problem with stats is that they don’t tell the whole story.  NFL rules make it exponentially easier to be successful in the passing game now versus in Montana’s time, so things are not comparable.  Furthermore teams pass on a much higher percentage of their downs than ever in NFL history.  From 1979-1990 Montana led the NFL in yards, TDs, completions, and completion percentage.  In Brady’s career he is only 4th in yards, 2nd in TDs, 4th in completions, and 9th in completion percentage.  So using raw numbers Brady has an advantage, but if one compares each to their contemporaries, Montana is superior, or at least not inferior.

 

 

Competition

Since his career began, Tom Brady has faced the following Hall of Fame defenders:  Darrell Green (who was a bit player and non-starter by Brady’s 2001 beginning), Bruce Smith, Rod Woodson, John Randle, and Deion Sanders.  All of these guys were shells of their former selves by the time they faced Brady.  Potential HOFs that are Brady’s contemporaries are Michael Strahan, Troy Palamalu, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, and Demarcus Ware.  Montana has faced: Jack Ham, Alan Page, Mel Blount, Ted Hendricks, Jack Lambert, Randy White, Lee Roy, Selmon, Mike Haynes, Mike Singletary, Lawrence Taylor, Howie Long, Jack Youngblood, Dan Hampton, Elvin Bethea, Reggie White, Darrell Green (when he was actually good), Andre Tippett, Bruce Smith, Rod Woodson, Rickey Jackson, John Randle, Richard Dent, Deion Sanders, Chris Doleman, and Cortez Kennedy.  Granted Montana didn’t face all of these guys every year, it just shows that his path to offensive success was much more encumbered than Brady’s was.

 

Brady couldn’t defeat a 27th ranked NY Giants defense … not very strong competition

 

In a very rudimentary argument, if Brady is less successful than Montana in the clutch, isn’t the most statistically superior quarterback of all-time, and has faced clearly inferior defensive competition it’s pretty hard to call him the best ever.  There’s no denying he’s an all-time great, but Mr. Kraft’s superlatives are quite a bit unfounded.

*Editor’s note: Brady now has one more Super Bowl win bringing his record to 4-2.

NASCAR Drivers Are Not Athletes

30 Jun

nascar02

This guy looks like my next door neighbor, not like a star athlete.

Please stop calling NASCAR drivers athletes. NASCAR drivers are not physically gifted, they have no discerning physiological attributes, therefore they are not athletes. The only natural abilities that NASCAR drivers possess are a pure recklessness that in any other part of life would be completely unacceptable, and the ability to empty their bladders into their underwear which toddlers and senile adults can do equally as well. Driving a car at high speeds while turning left is not a talent. Anyone can learn to steer fast cars in one direction by simply putting in enough repetitions behind the wheel of a race car. NASCAR is a competition, not a sport, and the key differences between a sport and a competition lies in the training and the physical aspects of the activity.

The type of training that an athlete engages in is usually a good indicator of the type of activity in which they participate. Football players have stocky and muscular bodies because they have to take the punishment of continuous collisions during their games. They lift weights and consume exorbitant amounts of calories to maintain their weight and musculature. Basketball players are tall and lean which is conducive to the running and jumping that they must do on each play in their sport. Their height, natural speed and leaping ability, and coordination are necessary to being successful in their sport. Even baseball players have wide shoulders and powerful thighs, the body shape that allows them to drive the baseball for power. Real athletes can be differentiated between simply by observing their body shape. Consequently, the training regimens for those athletes consist of physical exercises, like weightlifting and cardio work, because their activity is physical.

nascar

In what other “sport” is a graying, chubby guy better than a twenty year old in peak condition?

The training that the NASCAR drivers receive does not build their bodies so that they can maximize the use of their inherent physical ability. These drivers do not need put on muscle to compete against their opponents, because their is very little physical exertion in the competition. Hence, there is no specific body type of a NASCAR driver. The training that NASCAR drivers receive hones their driving skills so that they can handle the stresses of accelerating and swerving at such high speeds for long periods of time. But, it does not help them to use their body more efficiently, because driving competitively is mostly mental. Any person with a driver’s license and a disregard for their life can feasibly drive a race car.

NASCAR does not involve any activity that is remotely athletic. The drivers do not run miles a day in order to keep their bodies at peak physical condition. They do not lift weights in order to strengthen their bodies, because the condition of their body has no effect on the outcome of their race. Though NASCAR drivers endure stresses on their bodies that many athletes never experience in their respective sports, that does not make racing cars comparable to real sports. It is true that NASCAR drivers often lose 3-8 pounds during a race, but the weight is not lost due to physical exertion. It is due to the extreme heat that is produced by the expensive racing machines on concrete tracks. The weight that drivers lose while driving is nothing more than extensive in-car sauna treatments. Driving race cars professionally is difficult, but it is not in any way an athletic endeavor. When training does not hone natural abilities, then the person who is training is simply learning a skill for competition, not playing a sport. Athletes are more physically gifted than the normal population. They are noticeably bigger, faster, and more coordinated than everyone else. NASCAR drivers do not possess any special gifts with which they are born. They are just regular people that love cars and speed.

Race car drivers are not athletes. They are glorified valets and get-away drivers. Any idiot with a driver’s license and a death wish can drive a car irresponsibly fast. People that commute to work daily have the same set of skills that NASCAR drivers have, decent reflexes, spatial reasoning, and the ability to judge distances accurately. Getting behind the wheel at a NASCAR event takes skills, not athleticism, so stop comparing them to real athletes.

 

*Seriously, if a girl can play a man’s sport just as well as the other men, then it is not a sport.

*Sexist statement of the month.

How to Save the WNBA

24 Jun

womens basketball - antonija misura

This article was originally submitted on June 5, 2011. Due to good reader response, we decided to run it again.

skylar diggins

This is Skylar Diggins.

10. Re-draft all the players and pick the two hottest women as team captains - This should be fairly easy if you picked the obviously cute women first (believe me, there will only be a few of them), then picked the women that do not look like men, and finally choose the women that look like Dennis Rodman after a month-long trip to Vegas. This will not help the quality of play, but it could make the game a little more…ahem, attractive. Skylar Diggins gets first pick obviously.

9. Give away prizes to people that actually attend the game - People think that Oprah is insightful and compassionate. No, she does not like or care about people and their asinine problems; she is a billionaire. But, she does give away cars every season to the people that listen to her tripe-filled, hour long shows. Oprah is an evil genius who controls the minds of millions of women. Learn from her. Giving away free stuff draws people to businesses. And at worse, if no one likes their free gifts at the games, the homeless population will get a few free shirts and backpacks.

basketball - larry johnson - grandmama

8. Let one NBA player play in drag in each game - Following in the footsteps of Grand Ma Ma, Tyler Perry, Steve Urkel, and Big Mama’s House, let two guys put on dresses and play basketball as women. At least one player on the basketball court would be able to dunk the basketball in every game and we might even see an occasional crossover. Men and women could come to the games wearing mu-mu’s and high-tops and cheer for their favorite cross-dresser. It works in the movies, it should work here.

7. Exchange at least three players from each WNBA team with three women’s professional volleyball players - Some of the same skills that are used in volleyball, lay the foundation for being a great basketball player. Specific skills like jumping, timing, positioning, and hand eye-coordination are used almost identically in basketball and volleyball. The women are taller in volleyball too, which translates well to basketball. Also, volleyball players are hot. Basketball players usually are not.

6. Raise the length of the shorts 6 inches and give the option for a peep cut on the jerseys - The WNBA lacks the overall sexiness of the NBA. That needs to change. The players could also exchange their sneakers for high heels and put on full make-up before each game. They should get rid of baggy shorts altogether. Basketball athletes run miles everyday. They should show off the rewards of all their hard work. If someone wanted to drop the neckline on WBNA outfits, that would be okay too. A little cleavage never hurt anybody… unless you slept with the woman that could crush cans with her boobs, but I digress.

australia womens basketball

5. Make all teams change their uniforms to the form-fitting Australian national team outfits - The Australians have it all figured out when it comes to advertising. Their national team rocked legless catsuits for the Olympics. The same basketball team posed for “artistic” photos to sell their calenders and raise money for some cause that no one remembers because they were naked.

4. Encourage women to celebrate like Brandy Chastain -The athletes of the WNBA should be encouraged to celebrate every goal by running down the court in a full sprint, ripping off and throwing their jersey into the air, while sliding across the court on their knees. The crowd of fathers bringing their daughters to see the game, former women’s basketball players, and lesbians would probably all celebrate too. That’s my idea of a party.

3. Take all post-game interviews in the locker room - We are all about equal rights here at AnswersFromMen.com. If reporters are allowed into men’s locker rooms immediately after games when they are dressing, showering, and grooming while shirtless, then women should be interviewed under the same conditions. It is time for a change in this male-dominated society towards completely equal rights, and we should definitely start this revolution at interviewing women in the showers.

2. Make new hockey-friendly rules where players are allowed to fight - Whenever there is a disagreement on the basketball court, the referees should bring out a large kiddie pool, two bottles of baby oil, and let the women settle their disagreements in grudge match. They should also encourage clothes tearing, hair-pulling, and biting. Maybe light spanking too, because they have been naughty girls.

1. Play games shirts vs. skins - If everything else does not work. They should just bring basketball back to its roots on the playground and play shirts versus skins. Old school is always best way to do anything.