Athlete vs. Athleticism

by Damon on October 30, 2011

Paralympic Athletes Have AthleticismFirst a couple of definitions to make this more clear:

Athlete – Of or befitting athletics or athletes.

Athleticism – For pertaining to athletes;  involving the use of physical skills or capabilities, as strength, agility, or stamina: an obsessive participation in physical activity.

Both of These are Vital to Sport

The Athlete must already posses some form of Athleticism to compete in the sport of their choosing.  Whichever sport that is, they level of athleticism they posses will determine how far they can go.

In some of the remarkable children, you will see that they have a lot of Athleticism and this is why they will probably play multiple sports growing up until they find out how their athletic skills can be showcased more predominately in one form of sport over another.  Then they make the decision if they want to focus on just that one sport or pursue multiple sports.  There are very few people that can excel at a high level in multiple sports (I’m not trying to discourage anyone, it can be done, but you’ll have to decide which is most beneficial for you to pursue)

All Athletes have some level of Athleticism, but not all people with Athleticism can be an Athlete

It’s true, if you’re playing at a high school, college, or professional level, you probably have a higher degree of Athleticism than your peers (unless you Dad is the coach of the team). The more Athleticism you have, the better the Athlete you will be on the field. The degree of your Athleticism will determine how far you reach your sport.

Just because you’re and Athlete and have a lot of Athleticism does not mean that it can instantly transfer over to another sport. These other sports requires different types of skill sets that you may not have to compete. That’s not a bad thing, because hopefully earlier on in your sporting career you found which sports were best suited to your Athletic abilities. However, like I said before, it does happen but its few and far between.

Athleticism, but no Athlete

Just because you have a high level of Athleticism does not mean you’re an Athlete. There are many things a coach would want on his team. Poor grades, poor attitudes, disruptive behaviors, etc…these things are not wanted on a team. You can read about multiple counts of great Athletes getting kicked off a team because of bad grades, poor attitudes, disruptive behaviors, etc…

These former Athletes are no longer Athletes (as they have no where to play) and they still possess a lot of Athleticism.

The worst form of having Athleticism and not being an Athlete comes through injury. There are hundreds of different types of injuries a person can have that can bar them from being an Athlete. Just ask your Uncle John around Thanksgiving about how he was the awesome high school quarterback until the hit came that tore out his ACL…

For me, I had a lot of Athleticism for the past 16 years, but I wasn’t an Athlete. I couldn’t run more than 50 yards at a time (on good days) and it made sport difficult. It was easy for others to see my Athleticism (and it flattered me when they told me so) as I would swing a golf club, hit a tennis racket, or hit a baseball with a bat…but I couldn’t run…so I couldn’t be competitive…hence, I wasn’t an Athlete.

However, unlike Uncle John, my new prosthetic leg is giving me back the ability to run. I will be an Athlete again.

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