*What makes the difference in each level. What do you need to stay and what do you have to master to move on to the next stage. There is not only that factor, but in each level all the previous ones are accumulated and a new one is added.
1. Meet the game: Discover that sport. You watch it, you try it, you experience it. The sooner you find out, the sooner you can start investing time. It would be ideal to discover it before the age of 10, and if it is while combining different sports/activities, more motor wealth will be developed later and more conviction that the chosen sport was really the favorite (not the only one practiced).
2. Play the game: Start spending hours deliberately. It is a game, there is fun and a work structure begins to develop: days and hours per week, ruled competitions, etc. It starts to play and this will accompany all the phases that will come later. Depending on what is added, talent, opportunities, and perseverance, it will be reached at one level or another.
3. Know the game: You start to know the game after a while of practicing it. Experiences are accumulating, the personal database is filled, experiences are shared when competing, the body develops and begins to decipher if it is worth continuing to invest hours in that sport, depending on motivation, satisfaction, fun, sacrifices, etc.
4. Learn the game: You learn at a specific level of knowledge that is characteristic of that sport/category/age. The details in the technique and tactics begin to be relevant. The player begins to have the feeling that he can influence the game with his participation.
5. Understand the game: Master time and space, the breadth and depth of the game. Everything that has been learned before must be contextualized at all times. Each game situation may have a different value depending on the context. In this stage, 1+1 is not always 2. There are many variables around, which also add, subtract, divide or multiply.
6. Compete the game: Start using everything learned to create an take advantage. Use the concepts, fundamentals and knowledge, with an intention. Generate previous strategies and approaches, individual and collective, adapt to situations proposed by the opponent in real time. The game becomes a constant and intentional interaction.
7. Change the game: Only a few chosen arrive here, because innate skills and others that are learned are needed. It takes talent but also perseverance, character but also dedication, creativity, ambition and courage, along with a stable environment to keep all these elements. Who comes here, is able to reinvent the game, adding or modifying situations that did not exist before, not in the same dimension or simply had not been taken seriously until one of these chosen, teaches us.
It is possible that concepts can be reordered in some particular case, that the elements are not always grouped in the same way, because sport is complex and multifactorial. However, learning and development processes generate trends, which can help us understand what are the steps to follow and the different phases as experiences, skills, knowledge and hours of practice and competition are accumulated, assuming then that reality is not linear, without losing sight of the model we have created.
It is possible that who competes at the highest level at an early age, advances phases exploiting a category, and then goes back when the category, stage or context changes. In this case, every time he/she returns to a stage, he/she knows it more deeply and adapted to that new context.
We can apply the same process to players and coaches. Even who has been a player, and takes the path as a coach, starts again with a different perspective. It is possible to advance some stages faster, but it is necessary to master each phase from the appropriate approach to be able to move on to the next one.
You can be top in one category or context, but not in another. For example, certain youth categories, in some professional leagues, fitting better in the culture of a country, of a club, finding more stability and regularity in one environment than in another, dealing better or not with conflicts and issues that appear along the way, having more opportunities in one place than in another, or simply being more comfortable, excited and determined to move to the next level or just prefer consciously or unconsciously, go down one stage to enjoy more.
And what about You; What stage are you in? Which one would you like to reach? Do you know what you need to get there? Are you willing to pay the price and sacrifice what is necessary to go to the next level? Does it compensate and excite you enough?