Years ago I read one of the greatest sports biographies ever: You Cannot Be Serious by John McEnroe. You should read it.
Last week I watched one of the best sports documentaries I’ve ever seen: John McEnroe: In The Realm of Perfection.
Now before you write me off as a McEnroe fanboy, which I unabashedly am, please know that the latter is a French documentary about a controversial American tennis brat in his prime.
Shot mostly in slow motion, it is a quirky and mesmerizing film with a powerful finish that convincingly argues that a tennis match is good cinema, and that McEnroe was arguably the sports best “directors” of tennis cinema.
Four stars out of five.
I recently watched In Search of Greatness and learned a lot.
The documentary makes a convincing argument that structured specialization prevents our children from achieving greatness, especially in athletics, but also in other disciplines.
After interviewing and examining the upbringing and work ethic of over a dozen all-star athletes and musicians, the movie concludes that if you want your child to be great, raise them on a well-rounded diet of interests and physical activities. Do this until at least late high school or even college in some cases. Only then should children focus and devote the majority of their time to one pursuit.
Although it seems counter-intuitive, the filmmakers argue that this strategy allows our youth to play by different rules and see things differently. And there’s strong evidence suggesting this cannot be done if aspiring athletics, musicians, and others are strictly raised on only speciality from a young age, which is increasingly the norm now. That’s bad because youth specialization stifles their creativity and innovation and prevents them from developing other muscles and talents that can have a positive crossover effect on their primary passion.
I buy it. Four stars out of five.
See also: How children succeed: 5 things to know