When I first started coaching swimming, I thought that the most important thing in the world was having very fast kids. Kids that would win at the local level and then move up to compete at the national level.
I thought all my swimmers should be superstars. Super athletes. And if they didn’t put the work, time and effort into becoming the very best, then I had two choices…
1. Change their minds and convince them they were wrong.
2. Not care about them and not care if they quit.
That was my attitude then. Now, older and wiser, I see that same attitude at every level and for every sport. It doesn’t matter if it’s swimming, soccer, basketball, volleyball or football.
The “go hard or go home” motto keeps prevailing.
What’s the outcome?
First, I think it’s done very little to push kids to elite levels of performance.
Second, I think it’s partially responsible for the failure of youth sports to provide us with a fit and healthy nation.
And finally, I think it’s mostly responsible for 85% of kids quitting youth sports at 13.
The best people in fitness work with elite athletes. They are great at getting elite athletes to even higher levels of performance.
They are even great at getting motivated athletes to improve to higher levels.
But I think they are not, nor should they be our role models for youth fitness.
Youth coaches need to take a long term view of sports, fitness and health for kids. They need to look at the child growing older and becoming an adult. They have to realize that kids grow and develop at different rates and have different potentials of ability.
Take care to nurture and foster a love of fitness and sport. Encourage effort and improvement from every kid; not just the stars.
Kids need to be pushed and challenged. But they also need to be supported, instructed and loved.
Whether you’re a coach or a parent working with your child to help them in their sports skills keep that in mind at all times.
Let’s get off the “be the best” attitude and on to the “an athlete for life” band wagon.
Are you a coach or parent who is looking to improve your team’s athletic skills? Kids today need assistance in getting the fundamental skills needed. If you care enough to teach them, learn what and how to do it. Click the link to improve your child’s fitness today.