Young athletes love to participate in activities that are fun, that allow them to showcase their skills and abilities, and where skill improvement is taught by caring and informed coaches. Unfortunately, the young athletes do not make the decision regarding who will provide them with the background for future successes on the field and in life.
Parents, coaches, sports organizations, and influential parent friends all play a significant role in sport selection and how sports education will proceed. How can youth sport participants navigate this system of development where getting a knowledgeable, energized, and proficient teacher as a coach and a supportive parental group is a Game of Luck?
Education…Education…Education…Parents and coaches that enhance knowledge within the field of youth sports have a better opportunity for making better decisions and creating an improved environment for the participant. Every youth athlete deserves to participate in a positive environment that is built around individual growth and success. Athletes thrive in environments that feature:
- Learning and fun to be the two significant outcome goals
- An emphasis placed on personal improvement over winning
- Coaches who create personal relationships with athletes and their families
- Mistakes as stepping stones towards achievement
- Coaches who provide positive reinforcement at an increased ratio compared to constructive criticism
The earlier an athlete can be placed in this type of environment, the greater the opportunity for the participant to begin to develop a passion for the activity. Athletes that develop a passion for sports participation at a younger age:
- Have fun while participating
- Spend more time working on their skills away from practice
- Take time to observe more professional games
- Become devoted to the sport of their choice as they grow older
Healthy and active lifestyles for a lifetime are created in this manner by simply creating a supportive and positive environment around the athlete. As the athlete begins participation, (s)he has no control over what the environment is like in which they are involved. While most sports administrators, coaches, and parents step forward for positive reasons, they simply do not know how to successfully create an environment that is necessary for success to happen.
This takes us back to the importance of locating a coach or organizational leader who has the appropriate education and experiences to create an environment of success and development that is so necessary for participants of all ages. Without this linchpin-type person to keep the desired focus, participants will have increased difficulty in becoming passionate about participation. Without passion, participants turn to other interests limiting growth in the sport(s) of their choice.
Brad Nein is a coach, speaker, consultant, writer, and leader; he teaches others how to create exceptional sport experiences through positive and meaningful interactions. Find out more about him here.