Excerpt from John O’Sullivan’s latest blog:
“I love sports. And I love competitive sports. But I no longer believe that sport in and of itself has a fundamentally positive value. It is neutral, and only when I am intentional about making it positive does it have the opportunity to bring about good experiences for my children, and the ones I coach. So what should we do?”
Coaches: Be intentional! Your influence is never neutral, it is either positive or negative, so go out and intentionally create a great experience for the young people you coach. As I write about in my book Every Moment Matters, you can:
- Catch your athletes being good.
- Be demanding, but not demeaning.
- Develop character.
- Engage and empower the parents to become your allies in development.
- Be vulnerable and admit when you are wrong.
- Be a positive role model
- Coach the person, not the sport
- Build and sustain a great culture
- Respect and encourage your athletes
Coaches, we are the gatekeepers, we drive whether the experience is positive or negative. We can be better! We must do better.
Parents: Be intentional about researching the programs you sign your children up for. You will drive change when we discard the fear and start to:
- Ask your local leagues and clubs what they do to educate their coaches, and demand that it is not just about the Xs and Os, but about communication, motivation and understanding the child in front of them.
- Demand that they respect officials and promote sportsmanship
- Take a step back and when your child encounters difficulty and adversity, as them “what can you learn from this?” instead of intervening.
- Take the long view, and win the race to the right finish line instead of worrying about making the A team or playing travel sports when your children are very young
As long as sport is pay-to-play, our money will drive what is delivered. Today, our money is not driving fundamentally good sporting experiences for far too many kids. Parents, we can change this.
I encourage you to get a copy of John’s latest book: In Every Moment Matters, renowned coach educator John O’Sullivan has collected hundreds of interviews with top coaches, sport scientists, psychologists, and athletes and distilled them into a blueprint for becoming a more effective and inspiring leader. It will reshape your coaching journey by helping you answer three simple questions:
- Why do I coach?
- How do I coach?
- How does it feel to be coached by me?