Athletes do not need muscle for sports


Dalton Pankratz

Junior Isaiah Blackwell is on the skinnier end and tears it up on the basketball court, track, and football field, scoring ten touchdowns in his 2022 season, while junior Caden Stillwell, who is on the bulkier side, does the same on the football field and track having three touchdowns his 2022 season.

From NFL star Tyreek Hill to MMA fighter Conor McGregor, all sports have ripped athletes who have incredible strength. However, pro soccer player Lionel Messi, NBA player Kevin Durant and NFL wide receiver Justin Jefferson are nowhere near being considered having Greek God bodies, and yet they are the best in the game. 

Having extreme strength will always be a positive when competing, but is it necessary, or even needed?

For sports like basketball, it is not often that fans will see an NBA player with a large amount of muscle. However, many athletes in the NBA are not too muscular, yet they are some of the best in the game. This is partly since basketball does not involve as much contact as football or rugby does. 

On the other end of the spectrum, the majority of football players have a ton of muscle mass. However, quite a few wide receivers do not have a lot of muscle mass; Deandre Hopkin, Devonta Smith and Marquise Brown. This may be since the wide receiver position involves the least amount of contact of any position. 

When it comes to soccer, most soccer players are on the skinnier side, but that’s because they must have endurance to run for 90 plus minutes with little to no rest. Having more muscle can affect endurance since it is a lot more difficult to run with a bulkier body than it is to run with a skinnier body. 

It really comes down to the sport. Most people would think if an athlete is skinny in football, a bigger athlete will dominate them, or if they have a ton of muscle mass in soccer or basketball, they will get gassed later in the game. 

However, athletes can be big in soccer and bump someone off the ball with ease. They can be skinny in football and still be durable and have incredible speed, since bulky muscles will not slow an athlete down. 

In the end though, it is clear it is not necessary to have muscle mass. Baseball players do not need to be jacked to hit a ball out of the park, Babe Ruth wasn’t and was possibly the best slugger ever, and football players do not need to weave around, or push through the opposing team to get to the endzone. 

While I originally thought muscle mass was a must-have to be the best at any sport, I learned there is more to being a good athlete than being the biggest on the field.