"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill
Of late, sports and coaches are starting to apply long term development models to train athletes in sports. This includes, allowing kids to be kids, and motivating kids to be active for life.
One aspect that sports programs and coaches have not considered is the social development of athletes (the mental side). In this series we will look at the lifelong development of athletes both athletically and socially.
Athletic and Social Development: Part 1
Foundation Building takes place from birth to age 6.
Athletically, kids are learning the basic PHYSICAL skills and balance, like physical coordination, agility, motor skills, posture, and balance.
This is done through unstructured play and an introduction to organized sports. In both cases, it’s about creating an active environment that is fun, engaging, and encouraging.
Socially, this is the the time when kids develop their foundation for self confidence. This includes learning to make choices, self control, problem solving, and independence.
As parents and coaches, it’s important to create a supportive learning environment that includes consistent expectations, encouragement, reinforcing positive behaviors, having patience, and allowing kids to use their imagination.
The key is that we help grow the whole person over time so they have the right balance of technical, tactical, physical, and mental skills.
Each developmental stage represents when an athlete should be introduced to a certain level of skills development versus a timeframe when they need to master a skill.
With long term development it’s about being patient, letting athletes learn at their pace, and developing skills that can translate to all sports, activities, and life.
It’s up to parents and coaches to cultivate a foundation of trust and confidence vs a foundation built on doubt, shame, guilt, and fear..