"Skill is the unified force of experience, intellect, and passion in their operation." - John Ruskin
Athletic and Social Development: Part 3 Self Awareness takes place between the ages of 12–19. The teenage years are a transition phase when kids hit puberty, causing physical, social, and emotional changes.
Physically, the teenage years are when kids hit their growth spurts and increase muscle mass(puberty). By the end of the teenage years the playing field becomes more even. Meaning, athletes who may have been bigger and /or faster early on (early bloomers), likely don’t stand out as much because everyone has caught up physically.
Socially, it’s a time when teens are learning to identify as young adults. During this time teens seek independence, freedom to express who they are as individuals, and learn from experience. As part of this process, teens have a desire to make their own decisions, be responsible for their actions, and accept the consequences for poor decisions. They are learning and creating their own set of values and morals.
Emotionally, teens are experiencing a roller coaster of emotions, they go from feeling self conscious to feeling confident and invincible. As athletes, teens start to identify with a main sport or two to specialize in and therefore ramp up their training.
At this stage, physical and technical skills become more specialized, while tactical development is introduced and are learned. This is the time when athletes see their potential to play in college and see their future as elite athletes.
Support from parents and coaches at this stage are two fold. One, honor their independence and individuality by cheering them on and celebrating their successes. Two, set clear and consistent expectations and boundaries. I.e., academics are priority, not missing practice, and being on time.
Parents, as your teen becomes more responsible, let them take ownership. This means directing less and listen more. The best support you can give is to just be present and listen to them. It’s also the best times to communicate with teachable moments.
Coaches you can do the same by empowering your athletes to take on more leadership roles with the team.
Stay tuned for Part 4!