Young Athletes In Sports
Sometimes, it feels good to be validated that you’re right.
And that’s what happened to me yesterday.
I conducted an interview with a Youth Sports Psychologist
named Dr. Darrell Burnett for a project I’ve been working on.
Darrell and I first met on a DVD shoot back in 2003.
We were both asked to appear as ‘experts’ in a information
documentary based on youth sports called ‘Operation TLC’.
I was unbelievably impressed with Darrell’s stunning insight
into human emotion, behavior and consequence as well as the
role self-esteem plays in terms of the choices and decisions
we make for ourselves.
I was so impressed, that I still stay in contact with him and
frequently ask him questions related to topics surrounding
coaching, motivation and Coach/Athlete relationship.
We spoke yesterday at length about these exact topics.
Here’s what Darrell’s thoughts were related to training
young athletes –
- We spend far too much time on worrying about the
‘end result’ and not near enough time on considering
the ‘process’. It’s not where we’re going that matters as
much as how far we’ve come along the path. Knowing
the end point or result is critical, but being proud and
satisfied with how far we’ve progressed towards that
result is what must be on our heads daily.
- The formative years are key for absolutely everything,
from sports to music and academics. What we are exposed
to young is the number one factor in determining how
successful we become later in life. But this isn’t restricted
to ‘physical’ stimulus, the emotional support and validation
we receive early in life plays a significant role on our self-
esteem and self-worth – so much so that dysfunctional adult
syndromes such as codefendant can result if we aren’t
taught that "winning and losing are both okay but don’t
define who you are"
- No matter how ‘great’ the young athletes in our care are,
we must always strive to downplay their athletic ‘greatness’
and focus on treating them like a person first and athlete
second. ‘Brand identifying’ a young person as an ‘athlete’,
‘obese’ or ‘book worm’ lends to much credence to them
feeling as though that’s what they must always live up to.
They are valuable kids first and foremost, who just happen
to excel in sports – nothing more.
Not only is it amazing for me to constantly learn from great
professionals like Dr. Burnett, but it’s also so validating to
see that what I teach through the IYCA in terms of ‘The Art
of Coaching’ lines up so perfectly with what he has to say.
Re-read those lessons from Dr. Burnett and be sure that
you’re treating your young athletes the way he knows is right.
You can never stop learning.
‘TIll next time,
P.S. – Gaining insight from great professionals like Dr. Darrell
Burnett is a necessity in terms of becoming the most successful
professional you can be. Have a look inside my head and
understand how and why I produce the most successful training
programs for youths in the world today.
Visit http://www.iyca.org/course/programdesign and learn
the tremendous insight that will make you a better young athletes Coach or
These are all equally excellent points! Thanks for sharing Dr. Darrell’s insights.
Definitely agree – it’s got to be all about the process for youths – It’s a great time for these kids to have fun, compete, and set the stage for being healthy and athletic for their later years –
We often overlook the importance of EMOTIONAL development as a critical part of child rearing.
Dr. Burnett should make us all re-think the situation…
you are dead right on this! These parents are entrusting us with their single most valued asset, their child. We have an extreme responsibility to them to ensure that we are “doing no harm”, and that when they leave us they are better off than when they arrived. Think about it that way and it puts it into a whole other perspective, the IYCA perspective!
Darrell spot on I have always had a feeling that the IYCA will lead the world in the understanding and development of children.WE all sometimes get frustrated with the lack of understanding shown by many trainers but out in the this field we have fantastic people all over the world who seek to develop and improve.The IYCA will go on and be part of this revolution.GREAT ARTICLE