Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.
In youth sports there is a statistic that 70% of kids drop out of sport in middle school. Instead of inspecting why 70% leave, let’s look at the 30% and why they continue to play sports.
Parents of these athletes don’t get consumed by their high expectations for their kids to achieve and succeed. Instead, they allow their kids to play, to find their own passion, to develop friendships, problem solve, learn, and to become critical thinkers. Most of all, they are there to support their child by listening, encouraging, cheering them on, and watching them play.
Coaches understand that success and development go hand in hand. Youth coaches with this mindset understand that the focus is on developing athletes physical strength and agility; the technical skills relevant to play the game; the strategy involved to play the game; and the mental agility to overcome challenges related to setbacks and failure, and how to deal with the expectations that come with success. When coaches focus on the process, success comes with baby steps, not just with winning the big game and winning it all.
The athlete owns her/his sport. She/he is doing it because she/he wants to do it. By having an internal fire or intrinsic motivation, she/he is challenged to improve, focused on mastering their craft, and enjoying the moment.
During this time of quarantine take a moment reflect:
1. Parents, think about how you parent your athlete. What is your child’s motivation? How are you supporting your child to play sports? Are you pushing them to play and practice or do they do it on their own?
2. Coach, what is your current coaching style? What is your goal as a coach? How do you do to develop your athletes? How do you define success? How do you connect with your athletes? How do you make it fun? Are your athletes aware of these expectations?
3. Athlete, why do you play your sport? Are you motivated to practice and train? What else are you doing to learn and improve? If you aren’t doing these things, what’s holding you back?
In the end, it comes down to passion / heart. As a parent, coach, and athlete you’ve to have your right heart in the game. If you don’t know, we are here to help!