Austin Kelley, via a Diane Harrington email
Growing up among the 1,341 people in Taylorsville, Miss., Oakland Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell probably didn’t encounter the best coaches or the greatest competition. Which probably helped him reach the NFL. Studies show that small towns are better breeding grounds for athletes than cities, and sports psychologists are using these data to question our ideas about talent development.
Only one-in-four Americans come from towns of fewer than 50,000 people, but nearly half of NFL players and PGA golfers do, according to two recent studies. The small-town figures for golf and baseball are just under 40%. The studies use 1980 Census figures because they most closely represented the birth year of pro athletes.