I am a huge Tony Dungy fan. Probably because he believes what we believe about the best way to help young men and women to reach their full potential on and off the field. Check out 3 points he makes about sports:
1. “Today’s peer pressure within our society toward athletic achievement is extreme. We see it when children are pushed to compete in sports. We see it in the overzealous Little League parents and sometimes coaches who have lost all touch with reality. The kids are being pushed and coached like adults, with the idea that they have to be the best players on their teams so they can go to “the next level”.
2. We are in a society that idolizes sports [just look at the fathers and husbands who are show more passion and energy towards their favorite NFL football team and favorite players than they do towards their wives or children, or towards anyone or anything else].
Sports should be about enjoyment, cooperation, team building, learning to deal with adversity, building character, and pursuing excellence” [YES! Pursuing excellence IS what we want in order to help them reach peak potential on and off the field]
3. “Many kids today don’t even get to have fun with their youth sports. I hear too many stories of eight year olds who have given up other sports because one coach thinks they should pursue a single sport year round, including traveling teams. At eight years old? On the off chance that the child might be that one in a million to play a major league sport or be in the Olympics? My parents supported my involvement in sports and other activities, but they wanted me to be well-rounded [more than anything].”
So there you have it. Hopefully enough just to shift your perspective back to WHAT MATTERS MOST. As coaches and parents, we need this reminder daily in order to be the LEADERS our kids need and to go to battle against:
- The temptation to conform to the rest of society
- The temptation to move from supportive to overbearing
- The temptation to push our kids to the point that start to believe that achievement in athletics is the most important thing in life at the expense of their joy, and their willing pursuit of excellence
Remember, your athlete(s) can have they cake and eat it too with enough focus on the right stuff. You can have peak performance as an athlete without sacrificing mental health, passion, or physical well-being along the way. In fact, this is the only sustainable solution!
- Coach Andrew