The Kansas City Chiefs have had a great start in 2018 NFL season. Most NFL teams divide the NFL season into four quarters. The Chiefs first quarter was 4-0.
The team had a tough schedule to begin the season with three of the first four games on the road. The conference wins over the Chargers and Broncos will prove huge to the team’s playoff hopes. Most people would probably look at the road game to Pittsburgh as a very tough game to put into the win column.
The reason for their early success is simple – quarterback Patrick Mahomes. This guy has a cannon for an arm, the quickness of a cat and the poise of a seasoned veteran. The media is shocked at how physically and mentally special this young man is. A father who was a major league baseball player for 11 years prepared Mahomes well for the pressure a pro athlete faces.
Obviously, he also possesses superior athletic skills. Patrick was an outstanding three-sport athlete during his high school career. He was an excellent point guard in basketball and probably could have made it to the big leagues in baseball if he continued to concentrate on that game. He was a good hitter and shortstop because of his cannon for an arm. His skills in football during his high school career were equally as impressive.
To participate in three sports provides extra skills not available to athletes who play just one sport. You can see those skills in every game he plays. During the Denver game the throw he made on the run across his body to tight end Travis Kelce looked like a shortstop making a throw to first with a ball hit into the hole. The left-handed throw he completed to Tyreek Hill looked like a point guard using his off hand to make a pass on the basketball court. Play after play can be attributed to the skills he learned from his multiple sports experience during high school.
It has become popular for high school athletes to concentrate on only one sport. Hopefully Mahomes can be a role model for youth athletes to participate in multiple sports to enhance their abilities to focus on a college sport.
Gurus encourage young athletes to concentrate on a single sport. It is a terrible mistake. Young athletes who have a desire to play multiple sports should be able to make that choice at a young age and into high school.
Participation in multiple sports boosts competition and improves the ability to handle pressure. A favorite phrase I used to encourage athletes to go for it in multiple sports was, “It’s easier to drink the water the more you go to the well.”
You can see that in Mahomes. He has incredible poise under pressure. It might be his greatest skill. He makes play after play under pressure in key situations. He seems to thrive under pressure. It is a learned trait, not a natural one.
John Wooden wrote the book on poise. In his words, “Poise and confidence will come from condition, skill and team spirit. To have poise and be truly confident, you must be in condition, know you are fundamentally sound, and possess the proper team attitude.”
Concentration is another quality developed by participation in multiple sports. Mahomes’ concentration is not hindered under pressure. Concentration can be dull with a focus on only one sport – boredom can set in. A mix of sports keeps an athlete on their toes.
As Tom Landry stated, “Concentration is when you’re completely unaware of the crowd, the field, the score. The real secret to success as an athlete is control of yourself and concentration. Those are what make the difference once you get techniques down and training wrapped up. It comes down to the ability to control yourself in stress situations.”
Hopefully young athletes who are interested in multiple sports will follow their desires. The reward is obvious in Patrick Mahomes.
• The Major League Baseball playoffs have been excellent so far. It looks like the three best teams are all in the American League. The Red Sox, Astros and Yankees are deep and talented. The Brewers have a Kansas City flavor with Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain playing key roles. It would be great to see the Brewers surprise everyone and make it to the World Series.
• The offensive line is still a huge key for the 2018 Chiefs and their playoff hopes. They must take care of the “Golden Boy.”
• My quote of the week comes from the late U.S. Olympic hockey team coach Herb Brooks: “During the last 10 minutes of the game against Russia in the 1980 Winter Olympics, we started to panic. We started reverting to an individualistic type of play. We started to withdraw. I told them to play with poise and patience and to stay with what got them there.”
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at email@example.com.