Last week, a parent at school said "You should get Keegan into training, he's got such great natural speed. I used to be an athlete and you can train a lot of things, but not speed."
Internally, I screamed "but he's only 6", while politely thanking him for his kind observation. He obviously felt that I wasn't going to take this seriously and implored me to get Keegan into training. I ended up telling him that we were doing cricket this summer and one sport is plenty for us. Playing in a team and learning a wide range of physical skills is more important than being the fastest six year old. (Although the six year old is pretty pleased with himself and quite likes the idea that he is the fastest).
I spend my working hours researching horse racing, and the statistics show that horses that race as young horses have longer racing careers, so there is a huge benefit to early training. It's just that I think the parallel to humans should be education, not running. Early education is where humans get the long term benefit.
It is education that gives a person the greatest advantage in life. Being able to run fast is not really a career option. And even if it is, having an education will give the athlete options when their body fails them.
Widden Stud in NSW