DON’T MISS OUT: limited places left with one of the world’s foremost leaders in the area of children’s and youth sport, John O’Sullivan.

2008-John-Osullivan1John O’Sullivan, of the Changing the Game Project, spent two decades as a footballer and coach at youth, high school, college and professional level. He is the author of the #1 bestselling books Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes, and Giving Youth Sports Back to our Kids and Is it Wise to Specialize?

The visit to Sydney is part of Football NSW’s ‘capability building’ project aimed at improving and supporting associations, clubs and individuals implement best practice in their local environments.

There will be three sessions held in Sydney:

Evening session for Parents, Coaches and Administrators – conducted on Friday evening 16th February at the Manly Warringah Football Club, Cromer Park, Dee Why

Full Day Workshop for Coaches, Club Officials and Administrators on Saturday 17th February at Football NSW Headquarters, Valentine Sports Park, Glenwood

Morning session for Parents, Coaches and Administrators – conducted on Sunday morning 18th February at The Hangar, Bonnet Bay FC, Lakewood City Reserve, Coolidge Crescent, Bonnet Bay

Attendance is free but registration is essential for control of numbers and catering purposes.…

When registering, please ensure you ‘click’ the relevant event listed – north, south or whole day workshop.

A blog by John O’Sullivan

“Coach, can I talk to you?”

“Sure,” I said. “What’s on your mind today Michael?”

“Well, I just want to know what I can do so I get to start more games and get more playing time as a centre midfielder. I don’t think I am showing my best as a winger, and my parents tell me I am not going to get noticed by the college scouts unless something changes.”

Well Michael,” I said, “there is something that all coaches are looking for from the players they recruit. In fact, it is exactly what I am looking for from you as well. If you approach every practice, every fitness session, and every match with this one thing, I think you will see a huge improvement in your play, regardless of where you play. Interested?”

“Of course, coach. What is it?”

I waited a moment before I answered to make sure he was listening. “You have to stop asking what you can get, and start asking what you can give. You must serve.”

Michael furrowed his brow as he tried to process what I told him. “You want me to serve the team, like with food?”

I smiled, “No Michael, serving others is the one thing that unites successful people, from friends to employees to athletes to business owners. The great ones know that to be more they must become more, and to become more they must serve others.”

“So, you are saying that instead of asking what I can get from the team, I should be asking what I can give to the team?”

I wanted to leap out of my chair and hug him.

Michael got it. It’s not about him. It’s not about me. It’s about service. The tool that would eventually earn him more playing time and increase his chances of playing in college serving others by focusing upon what he could give, instead of what he could get.

Do you want to stand out from the crowd? Start by serving everyone in that crowd.

Far too many athletes bring the attitude of “what do I get” to practice and games. They want to know how they can:

Get to start

Get more playing time

Get to play my favorite position

Get to score all the points/goals

Get to work hard when I want to

Get to show up (physically and mentally) when I feel like it

Get to give less than my best because I am an upperclassman

Get attention as the star player

Sadly, this is the path to short-term satisfaction, at the expense of long-term development and high-level performance. This attitude does not promote success; it inhibits growth on and off the field, the court, and the ice.

If you want your athletes to perform at their very best, whether you are a parent or coach, then you must get them the right question.

What can I give? Athletes who ask themselves what they can give bring “I can give/I can do” attitudes and actions to the table for their teams. The can actually “get” everything they are looking for simply by starting with the following service oriented ideas:

I can give my best effort in practice and games

I can give my team a positive attitude no matter what the circumstances

I can give my team a boost no matter how many minutes I play

I can give my team a better chance to win no matter what position I play

I can do the dirty work so my teammate can score the goal and get the glory

I can sacrifice my personal ambitions for the better of the group

I can lead by example

I can be an example of our core values in action

As a coach, I used to think that the most important thing was to have my best players be my hardest workers. But now I realize that isn’t enough. Being a hard worker can still be a selfish pursuit. No, the most important thing as a coach is to have a team that all ask “what can I give,” especially when it come to your captains, your upperclassmen, and your most talented athletes. You must teach them that the selfish attitude may once in a while lead to success, but the selfless attitude leads to excellence, celebrates the success of others, and makes you the type of athlete that EVERY COACH wants on his or her team.

Parents, teach your children to be teammates who give. It will not only serve them well in athletics; it will serve them well in life.

Come to prepared to compete, and to be a “giver” and not a “getter.” You will stand out.

You will be a difference maker. And you will get everything you want by giving full of yourself, and helping everyone else get what they want. It changes everything.

from the Changing the Game Project blog by John O’Sullivan

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