Alex Slezak – M.Ed, YFS-II, YSAS, HSSCS
A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. – Herbert Simon
We live in the information age. It is a world where anything we could ever possibly want to learn is literally in the palm of our hands. Take a moment to pause and think deeply about that. This new world we live in has changed everything. In the past, coaches and teachers held the keys to knowledge. Information for kids was hard to come by and because it was scarce when the opportunity to listen to a coach or teacher attention levels were high.
The information age as changed all that and Herbet Simon’s quote above is absolutely true. All of us—young athletes included—are bombarded every minute of that day with so much information it is impossible to process it all. We are well beyond the tipping point. And because of this information overload, we can no longer discern the difference between the real shining diamonds of knowledge and the rhinestones that appear to glimmer but have no real value.
Young people today have at their fingertips all the information they could ever possibly want or need yet rarely do we see them actually utilize it. The wealth of information has truly created a poverty of both desire and attention. This has been a game changer for the skillsets needed by coaches and teachers. Let me be clear: coaches and teachers still need to understand their content knowledge but this is no longer the most important skill because they no longer hold the keys to the gate of knowledge.
The new breed of excellent coaches have mastered the “art” of teaching. You see the most important skill now for a coach or teacher is to be able to inspire young people to hunger for knowledge, pursue true excellence, have a growth mindset, and look deep down inside themselves to give more than they ever knew they had. It seems like a paradox but it is true, our youth do not need more information, they need inspiration. They need inspire to tune up their desire and begin utilizing the information all around them. They need the inspired to search for the real diamonds because they are harder to find than ever before.
If you want to pursue excellence in coaching and teaching get to know the content knowledge and then work tirelessly to master the “art” of inspiring children. This is a quality legendary coaches have always had but never has the demand been higher for inspiration than it is now.
To learn more about the art of coaching young athletes, the IYCA Youth Fitness Specialist Level 1 is the ideal next step.
Alex operates a tennis & fitness training business in Pittsburgh, PA. You can learn more by visiting his website at www.AlexSlezak.com.