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The Real Youth Sports Lessons of Jeremy Lin

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The Real Youth Sports Lessons of Jeremy Lin 
By xincan on Jan 18, 2014 03:22 AM
<P>The Real Youth Sports Lessons of Jeremy Lin</P>
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<P>Jeremy Lin's story of nearly falling off the end of the New York Knicks' bench to instant NBA sensation is an amazing, exciting tale. It also threatens to be the most misinterpreted youth sports inspirational message since "Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team."</P>
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<P>The shorthand version of Lin's life lesson is that, hey, you benchwarmers, your time will come. Someday, the right coaches will notice you, and you can create your own Linsanity. I suspect, however, that many youth sports parents already don't need Lin's tale as proof their kids are budding athletic prodigies who are held back only because their coaches are too stupid to notice their abundant talent.</P>
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<P>However, like radio DJs who thought all they needed to become Howard Stern was to tell dirty jokes on the air, the lessons of Lin are a bit more nuanced than merely you'll get your chance someday:</P>
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<P>1. Have a child who already is talented. Lin was a varsity player as a freshman. He grew to a basketball height (6 foot 3). Point being, don't expect your kid who is of lesser or even equal talent to the other 10 year olds to break out suddenly because he or she finally gets a little extra playing time.</P>
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<P>2. Have that golden combination of pushy parent and motivated child. Gie Ming Lin, Jeremy's father, himself is a basketball junkie. (How appropriate Gie Ming Lin studied in the land of Hoosier Hysteria.) Gie Ming Lin was no Marv Marinovich, but he started teaching Jeremy the game and putting him through drills when he (Jeremy, not Gie Ming) was not long out of diapers. As it turned out, Jeremy was as motivated a student as Gie Ming was a teacher. Point being, on top of having the physical talent, you need a child motivated to put in the work, and a parent motivated to support him or her putting in the work, in order to be for your child to be good enough that in case of the injustice of being benched, he or she can later show the coaches what idiots they were.</P>
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<P>3. Have a child who doesn't get too discouraged by setbacks. The beauty of the first two points I laid out is that a benched child will have the confidence to know that he or she just needs to find the right opportunity to succeed. No doubt, Lin suffered through a lot of coaches who just couldn't figure out he could play. After high school, Lin got no scholarship offers, so he went to Harvard, which is Division I, but as an Ivy League school offers no athletic free rides. Lin was projected as a second round NBA draft pick by many, but ended up undrafted. Lin caught on with Golden State, but the Warriors let him go. The Knicks took him on, but had him player in the D League and often didn't seem to give him a passing thought. And yet, Lin played on.</P>
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<P>Now on this point, there's room for Jeremy Lin fueled inspiration even if your child is never going to play beyond, say, the high school level. The philosophy behind the title of this blog is that, statistically speaking, your child has little chance of being a professional athlete (or even getting an athletic scholarship to college). So first and foremost, youth sports should be about the child, and the parents, enjoying the experience as it happens. If your child loves the sport, loves to play it, then indeed there might a chance that someday he or she will get a break and can take advantage of it.</P>
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<P>After all, your child might end up outlasting peers who aren't enjoying the experience, and are being burned out mentally and physically by too much travel ball or too much single sport focus, when they'd really rather be doing something else. Or, like Michael Jordan, your child could use the injustice of being put aside (in Jordan's case, it was to the junior varsity, not off the basketball team completely) as a motivator.</P>
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<P>4. Have a child who gets inspired by stories like Jeremy Lin's. Your child might watch Jeremy Lin play. You child might get excited watching Jeremy Lin play. But that doesn't mean your child will understand, the way you do, the Big Thoughts behind Lin's story. If your child doesn't appear to be drawing inspiration from Jeremy Lin, then don't push it. Sometimes, they could use an inspirational story that's closer to home.</P>
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<P>For example, my 14 year old son is running track for the first time, as a distance runner. He's been told he has the build and stride for it. However, as the rawest of rookies, his first practices have featured him making sure he can still see the other kids in the distance ahead so he doesn't get lost during training runs. For him, I've told him stories of a runner in a similar predicament who improved greatly in a short time and, while not becoming a star long distance runner, did get a lifelong love of Mike Iupati Youth Jersey running. That runner, of course, is me. Hopefully, my son gets inspired by stories of how I actually DID get lost during training runs (with teammates driving to find me and pick me up), but kept trying anyway.</P>
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<P>It's not as exciting a story as Jeremy Lin, but the thing about inspiring someone is, you sometimes have to try a lot of different techniques before something works.</P>
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<P>Great post. I like how his dad says, in one of the links you provided, that he didn't intend (Marv Marinovich style) for his son to become a pro player, but he simply enjoyed the game and supported his son's interests. A great lesson for sports parents. I like to run, and have always encouraged my kids to run with me. My oldest son joined cross country as a freshman. His high school is extremely talented in cross country, Mike Iupati Jersey Limited and at most other schools, he would be a top 7 finisher, which as you know, the top 7 positions that count in cross country team scores. At it goes, he was in the middle officialauthentic49ers.com/77+Mike+Iupati+Jersey+Cheap.html of the pack out of some 50 freshman doing cross country. Still, he learned to love running, training in the offseason with his classmates, and doing 5K races with me and his brother. He also learned how to eat right and he stopped drinking soda, as he realized that all those things affected his performance. I was so pleased with his coaches. Even though he never had a top 7 finish, he learned to love running, learned to work hard toward goals, and learned to take care of his body those lessons learned are way more important than any medals or top finishes.</P>
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<P>A few additional lessons from Jeremy Lin:</P>
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<P>5. Sports aren't everything be well rounded and prepared if sports don't work out: Lin had a 4.2 GPA at ultra competitive Palo Alto high school, and if he wasn't recruited anywhere, Harvard was his backup plan. Nice backup plan! He has his post basketball plans worked out where he wants to be a pastor of a church, and if that doesn't work out he can fall back on Harvard Economics degree (had a 3.1 GPA). He made some youtube videos of varying degrees of funniness:</P>
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<P>6. Teams sports are well, team sports: The team is the priority, and Lin takes pains to include his teammates in the game (passing to them) and during interviews, makes the team the focus and not him. In interviews, he stated that he needs to get his own field goals down and his assists up. True point guard!</P>
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<P>7. Just because you are good doesn't mean that you have to be a jerk: When you live in the Bay Area, you know people who know him, and the word is that he is a good guy. Hope he remains that way, and so far it looks like he is staying that way.</P>
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<P>Most importantly for this blog, Bob is a father of four who is in the throes of being a sports parent, a youth coach and a youth sports economy stimulator in an inner ring suburb of Chicago. He reserves the right to change names to protect the innocent and the extremely, extremely guilty.</P>
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