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… If we keep conducting coaching courses based on sports science, this is where we’ll end up – no coaches……
We forgot to teach coaches how to coach!
Kids and parents do not choose to join a tennis Club because the coach knows a lot about physiology. Kids and parents are seeking quality experiences delivered by passionate, enthusiastic, caring coaches. They’re looking for coaches who’ll create positive, enjoyable, interesting and engaging sports experiences for them – based on their, i.e. the kids’ and the parents’ specific needs.
…. I believe in the power of parents to enrich the lives of their children. Working with sporting parents around the world, what have I learnt?
Sports Parenting Tip Number 1: Do Your job! The role of the parent of a child who plays sport is far more important than they – the parents – realise. Think of the coach, the athlete and the sports parent as partners: a team united and committed to helping children to be all they can be……
Sports Parenting Tip Number 2: Don’t Do Their Job! I love my kids. And I know you love yours too. And I know that because you love them so much that you want to do it all for them…fill their drink bottles, clean up their dirty sports gear, empty their dirty sports bags, pick up their wet towels, set their alarms, carry their bikes, clean their football boots, adjust their googles…I understand it – I get it – I really do. But…you’re not helping them……
Sports Parenting Tip Number 3: Never Give Up on Doing Your Job! Your kids will face challenges throughout their lives. Sometimes things will work out fine – and life will be wonderful. Occasionally things won’t work out well and they’ll face hardship, pain, difficulty and heartbreak……..
Sports Parenting is an important job: it’s perhaps the most important job anyone in the sports industry can do. Sporting parents can have a considerable influence – importantly they can positively and powerfully influence every aspect of their child’s life.
.. The sport pathway is a model of athlete development designed over 20 years ago and since it’s introduction as a concept it has become increasingly popular all over the world as “the” best way to provide the right environment for young athletes to learn, to train, to compete and to become successful in sport.
There’s three reasons why the sports industry’s devotion to the theory of the sport pathway needs to end…now.
The ‘pathway is broken.
.. It was never a pathway.
.. It is achieving the exact opposite of what it claims to be achieving
.. Sport has changed: It’s not just about competition anymore.
1. It was never a pathway. The pathway never existed. No athlete “enters” the pathway as young child then progressively and systematically moves step by step along the pathway to achieve greatness. There’s nothing linear about it. Never was. The actual progress of an athlete from beginner to Olympian or to professional athlete looks nothing like a straight line – as is implied by the sport pathway zealots.
2. The sport pathway is achieving the exact opposite of what it claims to be achieving : One of the advantages about the ‘pathway model that was sold to sports was that it would give athletes, coaches and parents a clear “path” to help the athlete realise their potential.
Either by design or through poor communication, most athletes, coaches and parents believe that if the athlete is NOT on the pathway by a relatively young age then their chances of being successful in that sport are limited. So for example, the blind adherence to the sport pathway model in some sports has led to many athletes (and their parents) thinking, “I am not in the under 11 representative team…therefore I am not on the “pathway”…therefore I am wasting my time in this sport”…..
3. Sport has changed: It’s not just about competition anymore. The most significant and most rapidly growing group in sport around the world are those participants who are just “doing” sport: just playing it for fun, hanging out with friends, enjoying their leisure time doing something they love doing. The industry is facing seismic shift in the way people want their sports experiences and across the globe the decline in the number of people actively pursuing competitive sport is alarming.
The ‘pathway is pointless for the simple reason is that there’s almost no one on it
Summary: So for all of you sports administrators, sports leaders, sports recruitment agencies etc out there, guess what? You’ve got to start again and think differently.