At just 18, Emma Raducanu has made British history by not only making it to the final but winning the US Open at just 18 years old. Fresh off the circuit at Wimbledon, she came back mentally and physically fit to clinch victory at the US Open.
But unlike what has been commonly popularised by author Malcolm Gladwell as the golden standard: the 10,000 hours that make a person great. Raducanu spent her younger years engaging in a variety of different sports, something her coach Matt James believes is the source of her strength. He added:
“From my perspective, one of the best things with Emma is that she was exposed to a lot of sports from a young age…I see that on the court. When she’s learning a new skill, or trying something a little bit different, she has the ability and coordination to pick things up very quickly, even if it’s quite a big technical change.”
Even scientists have argued that with current tests, early specialisation and highly-structured training can lead to lower motivation, burnout and potentially increase injury rates. For young people to maximise their capacity to enjoy sport, engage in sport and possibly become great sportspeople themselves, multiplicity is key.
Raducanu, for example, maps much of life experience based on the sports and activities she was doing. Her development was a smorgasbord of golf, ballet, horse riding, skiing, basketball, tennis, and go-karting. Federer was known to exasperate his own mother with his playfulness and his penchant for unstructured play alongside playing tennis three times a week.
To provide young people from tots to young adults, the growth and development they need in all aspects of their lives, multi-sports is a great experiential springboard. Our multi-skills qualifications can provide coaches with the right background to inspire the next generation of sports stars.
It isn’t just about sporting success. It’s about teaching and expanding those motor skills that will improve their reflexes and start their journey towards a lifelong commitment to physical activity.