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 on who will provide them with the background for future successes on the field and in life. Parents, coaches, sport organizations, and influential parental friends all play a significant role in sport selection and how the sport 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 that 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 sport 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 through simply creating a supportive and positive environment around the athlete. As the athlete is beginning participation, they have no control over what the environment is like in which they are involved. While most sport administrators, coaches, and parents step forward for positive reasons, they simply do not know how to successfully create the environment that is necessary for success to happen.
This takes us back to the importance of locating a coach or organizational leader that 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, the 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.
In the next post, I look forward to writing about what a positive sports environment looks like.
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