Friday, December 6, 2013

The Speed of the Game



Yesterday, I was watching an interview with Miami Dolphin quarterback, Ryan Tannehill. The ESPN host, Trey Wingo, asked what the biggest difference playing quarterback in college versus the professional ranks. Tannehill gave the standard answer I've hear so many times before from other players making this transition. The hardest part according to him is getting used to the speed of the game. As you'd expect, it's much faster at the professional level.

It takes time and repetition to be able to see and understand then make  the right decision when things are coming at a player. You can't coddle a new player because there is no growth without challenge. The other side of the coin is that you can't simply throw him into the fire without support and protection or he'll be overwhelmed. This has been proven out with too many highly regarded players becoming busts.

It is very similar to struggling young readers. Too often it's young boys who become overwhelmed. There is too much, too quickly expected. We as parents and teachers don't appreciate the gap that may exist between the best readers in the class or an older sibling compared to this struggling young boy.

It doesn't help with a full summer off from reading. We can't expect them to then hit ground running the next fall. Even football players have some training camp before the real season starts again.

So we need to incorporate the successful strategies of training a young quarterback to understand the speed of the game into our literacy efforts with reluctant and struggling readers. It's all about repetition and increasing challenges gradually. We can't overwhelm our young readers. Not every college quarterback has the ability to become an NFL star. But every young person DOES have the ability to become a star reader.

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