• Question: is it possible to be good at all areas of sport?

    Asked by unknownpupil to Jemma, John, Lisa, Sam on 28 May 2012.
    • Photo: Jemma Ransom

      Jemma Ransom answered on 28 May 2012:

      Hi @unknownpupil, how are you?

      The answer to that is I think a yes! You only have to look at the fantastic performance of Jennifer Ellis at the heptathlon (that’s 7 sports!) this weekend to know it is possible to be good at several different sports. I imagine this is hard work though, if you imagine trying to be brilliant at sprinting for example, and then having to learn another 6 or seven sports as well, I don’t fancy it, do you?


    • Photo: John Perry

      John Perry answered on 1 Jun 2012:

      Hi @unknownpupil,

      There are a lot of common skills that will help across many sports (speed, jumping ability, coordination etc.).

      However, because there is such a variety in sport, there are some physiological requirements that mean what is an advantage in one sport is a disadvantage in another. For example, it is helpful to be small if you are a jockey, riding horses but this would make it difficult to be successful at high jump.

      Overall though, I would say no because to have a chance of becoming an elite athlete, it is said that you need 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. With around 50 sports in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games plus about another 50 mainstream sports not in the games, that’s 100 sports, therefore, 1 million hours of practice – that’s 114.5 years of continuous practice!