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Should You Push Your Child? Quarterback Andrew Luck on Creating a Champion

A graduate of Stanford, Andrew Luck was selected first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft and is now a quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. Luck has teamed up with Quaker to promote youth health and wellness. I spoke with Luck about his own experience in youth sports, his thoughts on parental involvement and how to teach your kid to throw a perfect spiral.

What role did your parents play in helping you to become a champion?

I have two younger sisters and a brother who is still in high school. My parents always encouraged all of us to play sports. My sister now plays volleyball at Stanford. The only rule was that if you started a season with a team, you had to finish it.

Andrew Luck

Did your parents pressure you?

I never felt pressured like I had to play football growing up. They made it feel like it was our choice to play a sport. We were never yelled at home for missing a shot. The only thing they would get upset about was not being a good sportsman or anything like borderline cheating. I never felt like I had to go home and get yelled at if I played poorly. I feel blessed that they let the coaches do the coaching and they did the parenting.

Many parents these days are concerned about their child finding their sport at a younger and younger age. When did you find your passion?

The first year I played only football was in college. Until then I played multiple sports baseball, soccer, basketball, track. I had more fun playing high school basketball than anything. It can be sad when parents force their children to play year round sports. The other sports I played helped me learn how to move athletically.

Did your parents influence you to always try your hardest?

I try to give my best effort ever since I remembered. Maybe that is how I was wired. I love playing team games because when you don’t give your best you can tell you disappointed your teammates. When you play a team sport you are accountable to your teammates. It is easier to forgive a teammate that gave 110% than one who didn’t try their hardest.

Do your siblings share the same drive to win?

I think so. Some of them are outwardly more competitive than I am. Board games with them can get intense.

Finally, I learned how to throw a spiral at a young age but I find it isn’t as easy to teach as to do. What is the best way to teach a child how to throw a spiral?

Here are the steps:

1.     Practice is important. You have to do the same thing over and over.

2.  Teach them where to grip it. Show them how to place your thumb under the ball and your pointer and middle and ring finger comfortably on the laces. Comfort is most important. Don’t let the ball sit in the palm of your hand.

3.  Position your body 90 degrees away from your target.

4.  Carry the ball under your chin or back towards your right shoulder (if you are right handed)

5.  Step with your left foot towards your target and end up with hips facing your target.

6.  Rear back and throw it. The last finger to touch the football should be your index finger.

 

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