Embracing Change: A Fresh Start with Every Season
Schools and Seasons Have Started
Isn't it fascinating? As summer draws to a close, schools around the world reopen their doors. It marks a juncture for a rejuvenated perspective and evaluation. A moment to embark on the autumn sports season with renewed outlooks on how to infuse novelty, enthusiasm, and individuality. Just as each person is unique, so is the transition from summer to fall. Stepping into the stream is akin to stepping into an ever-evolving current, where change is constant, and novelty prevails. So, be prepared and willingly excited for the unexpected and the surprises that await. This readiness signifies the commencement of a fresh start, irrespective of the specific seasonal sport one engages in.
What is Getting Better
Is it feasible to veer away from the immediate pursuit of "getting better?" But better for what purpose? Is it for the improvement of the young athletes or for the enhancement of one's win-loss record during the season? Once this question is acknowledged, it becomes apparent that the outcome and result often overshadow the growth and exploration of our youth. The challenges we face today extend throughout the year, with the trend of specializing in a single sport year-round. While this may be suitable for those with unwavering dedication to one pursuit, what facets of a child's life remain unattended when they commit exclusively to a single avenue of movement? Are we nurturing well-rounded physical individuals?
How can a young player foster diversity and creativity when they are engrossed in a single sport year-round? Is there a way to shift the focus back to the athlete's personal development and alleviate the pressure to prematurely mature? After all, they are still kids. But until when? When does childhood cease, and the time for solemnity and seriousness commence?
Don’t Be Fooled by Playing Along
Does seriousness truly pave the way to achievement? This assertion appears doubtful, especially considering the increasing number of kids abandoning sports as they progress from grassroots to the tumultuous teenage phase of hormones and self-discovery. While your children might seem content and enthusiastic today, the prevailing statistics often reveal a different narrative. A transformation is imperative.
A recent Google search—"#1 most important thing for kids?"—yielded enlightening results. According to childrenscolorado.org, "kids need time." Additionally, verywellfamily.com highlighted the importance of skills such as decision-making, problem-solving, personal hygiene, meal preparation, and communication—all skills that are typically not honed until high school. This insight triggers contemplation. Is your curiosity piqued?
How frequently do we allow kids to simply have time?
How often do we facilitate the development of their autonomy, thereby nurturing their decision-making, problem-solving, and communication skills?
Do you wish to postpone the development of your child's autonomy until high school? Unfortunately, that is the prevailing trend.
Efficiency and Life Skills in Sports Education
Are these crucial life skills truly being cultivated and realized on the sports fields and courts? Regrettably, such instances are rare. Even if brief opportunities are granted, the majority of practices are overshadowed by over-structured lesson plans aimed at expediting results. While efficiency is commendable, at what expense?
Efficiency in sports achievements—yes, but at the expense of the child's growth and the time they require to unearth their talents?
Rediscovering Creative Exploration
Are we so focused on gaining an initial advantage that we forget what it's like to embark on something new? When was the last time you engaged in something creative? Were you already an adult, with cognitive capacities distinct from those of a child?
Freedom, autonomy, play, creativity, discovery, exploration, adaptability, and self-awareness—how often are these facets witnessed in practice sessions across various sports? Let's be candid in our response.
How can we, as parents and coaches, grant children and young individuals the space to foster and uncover their decision-making, problem-solving, and communication skills?
Players take precedence—both at the beginning and the end. The coach's role is that of a guide, not someone imparting instructions on assembling an exhibition-worthy spacecraft. Sports can span a lifetime; it's not just about winning a trophy.
Coaches’ online resources!
TOVO Institute, located in Barcelona, Spain (classes)
Player Development Project (PDP), Australia (classes)
iCoachKids: International Council for Coaching Excellence, UK (free classes)
Performance Development Systems (PDS) by Mark Bennett MBE (classes)
Coaching Athletes to Be Their Best: Motivational Interviewing in Sports by Steven Rollnick, Jonathan Fader, Jeff Breckon, and Theresa B. Moyers. (book)