Archive for “Brains” Tag

Coaching Young Athletes – It’s Not Business…It’s Personal

 

Young Athletes Need Support

Young Athletes

 

By Dave Gleason

 

The last month and a half I have been making more of a concerted effort to attend as many events that our AR Champions are involved in as possible. This includes sporting events, plays and concerts. I have quickly come to the realization that within reason – I need to do much more of this.
Why?

 

Quite simply the look on my young athletes faces when they see me, and the gracious comments from their parents, extolling how very excited their son or daughter is.

 

The games, activities, sets, reps and external loads we choose for our young athletes have obvious importance. Without our world-class long-term programming we do not distinguish ourselves from any other organization that serves young athletes.

 

The truth is that our program templates and endless list of exercises to plug in to those templates have little value if the overall experience we provide our athletes is not superior.

 

Keep in mind that beyond their athletic development, your young champions are developing from several different standpoints.
Bio-Socially – How they are responding to biological changes in their bodies including kinesthetic awareness and how they compare themselves to other children’s bodies.

 

Psycho-Socially – How their young minds are socially adjusting to learning new social skills, sportsmanship, fairness and the concept of efficacy (“what I can do”).

 

Cognitively – How and what their brains are storing information from new experiences.
All of these are factors that can break down and destroy confidence.

 

That said, the connections we make with our young athletes and their parents are the most important aspects of our business.

 

Coaching and mentoring young children comes at a cost. That cost is the value they place on you in their young lives. They look up to you, they admire you… they want your acceptance and praise. You become a very important part of their young lives.

 

Celebrating your young athletes outside of your facility is as easy as attending a tournament, a concert, an award ceremony, and even a personal event that you’ve been invited to such as a birthday party. Your attendance at these events will add to the culture of your AR, the strength of your AR family and the long-term health of your AR business.

 

The ramifications of your ability to network while being introduced to other parents and young athletes by your AR champion’s parents cannot be over stated. The levity of making your young champion feel special because you took the time to watch them perform is epic. The appreciation your AR parents display is a direct result of their realization that you care about their child(ren).

 

The opportunity to make your AR champions feel special will always begin within your program. Reaching outside that from time to time is a win – win for everyone!

 

Keep changing lives!

 

 

Pretend Play for Youth Fitness

 

 

Youth Fitness

This subject can actually get quite complex, because we are delving into the inner workings of the developing brain, with billions of neurons.  However, as much as we have to learn, we do know some things.  I will try to break down this subject of how pretend can be beneficial for development.

 

Everyone knows that kids pretend.  It’s often considered a frivolous, useless activity.  I find this a curious conclusion.  Why would kids all over the world, no matter the culture, engage in pretend play if it was so useless?  Why are our brains wired to do this if it is so devoid of value?

 

Have you ever considered the reasons why children engage in pretend play, or “pretense”?  Well, cognitive researchers have, and the findings are interesting:

 

1) Children pretend in order to learn the ability to represent a “strategy map” (if you will excuse my liberal use of that term).  Instead of being truly “in” the situation, they can learn to think many steps ahead.  It is basically like practice for the problem solving machinery in the brain. 

 

2) Pretense can develop these problem-solving skills in the absence of performance based stress.  Think about having consequences to your own safety and the expectations of adults always “weighing” on your decisions.  You are most likely going to always pick the “safest”, most familiar solution.  You are likely to not be very creative in this situation.  But in pretend play, you can be anyone and you can be anywhere! 

 

3) Pretense can even help kids develop empathy, by being able to picture themselves in someone else’s shoes. 

 

4) Pretending can deepen kinetic understanding (a term I will coin here).  Pretending, literally, to move with someone else’s patterns and rhythms can promote a much deeper feel for a movement, or what we might call “second nature”.   

 

(more…)

Outside The Box Youth Coaching

 

 

Youth Coaching Strategies

Through both my articles and seminar series, I discuss the Art of youth Coaching quite frequently.

 

The Art of Coaching infers that it is not what you know as a coach that matters.

 

It’s how you can relay it to young athletes.

 

This is a common concern I see especially with younger coaches just out of college and still looking to impress people with there high intellect and advanced vocabulary. In fact, out industry is littered with coaches who talk a great game, seek out as much PR and notoriety as they can, but don’t truly have any degree of experience or ability when it comes to effectively applying training strategies to athletes in unique and varying settings.

 

In that, I want to discuss today a youth coaching strategy that I have used that truly enables young athletes to master a given technique.

 

Rewrite Strategies

 

If you have ever been driving in a car with a small group of teenagers and had a familiar song come on the radio, you have already experienced in practicality the essence of a rewrite strategy.

 

(more…)