Go Big or Go... Roam?

Whatever sport you play, there's always those ultra-competitive players who have trained since the age of [insert young age here] to be the best [insert sport here]-er they could possibly be. Maybe you're one of those people yourself, or maybe (like me) you're just the average Joe who dabbled in a bit of baseball, soccer, and taekwondo before finding your sporting niche.

One would expect that competitors who trained their entire lives would dominate at increasingly higher levels. In some sports, like golf, this prediction rings true ― but in others, you'll find champions (Dustin Johnson, Ken Norton, Randy Johnson) who started their sport/event relatively late. Don't get me wrong, top-level athletes in all sports rose to the top through intense practice and training, but what's interesting is that some of their paths had more twists, turns, and switchbacks than the typical televised wonder players who trained since the age of two.

The book Range explores why those who put in the most practiced the most at one sport aren't always at the top, but this post will argue why you should invest time playing different sports instead of picking one and running with it (pun intended).

1. Fail Faster

A common mantra in the startup scene is "fail fast, learn faster". The thinking behind the saying is simple: by trying, failing, and learning from your mistakes, you'll eventually hit gold with a profitable company. So, try some sports, fail at them, and use your failures to point you towards places you'll succeed. Nobody expects their first startup to be their only venture ― so why should your first sport be your only one?

2. Don't Waste Your Time

Don't fall for the Concorde Fallacy. The extra time you spend pushing your limits in one sport could be better spent "starting over" in another. The reason "starting over" is in quotations is because often, you don't have to start from scratch ― skills and strength developed from one sport often translate well to others (that's also part of the reason why NFL players and MLB players can perform well in both sports).

In the long run, you may gain more ground by starting over. Don't waste your potential!

3. Personal Happiness

You'll probably perform better if you're interested in the sport you're playing and excited about playing it. Don't make yourself miserable slaving away at swimming ― it may be worth it to switch to another sport you're more excited about. Plus, if you're not invested in your sport, you're highly unlikely to make it to the big leagues in that sport anyways.

So, if you're faced with the choice of "going big" or "going roam", consider the latter. You might succeed because of it.


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