Coaching Young Athletes: One Shell At A Time
By Dave Gleason
When we are educating prospective parent members about the value of long term athletic development we often use very poignant and effective analogies. This is paramount in guiding parents to a better understanding and, at times, a paradigm shift as to the optimal way to train their child(ren).
Once more, it is imperative that our parents as well as our athletes comprehend the inherent risk of early specialization in sport… and the 6 week “bigger, stronger, faster” quick fix.
A common analogy that has proved advantageous to these efforts is that of our educational system.
We can quickly draw a parallel between the progressive and cumulative effect of our school systems while explaining that learning physical skill sets is no different. We speak to building a solid foundation before specializing in any one subject. We offer the example of not excluding other subject matter because a child has an affinity or increased aptitude in one particular subject.
“If Trevor was brilliant in the subject of math in 1st grade we certainly would not skip to 7th grade algebra”.
As coaches we need to take heed as to how we observe our young athletes from a standpoint of skill acquisition and movement economy. More importantly we must pay close attention to each athletes well being from a humanistic perspective.
I offer this analogy to think about how you may become a better coach and mentor to the young athletes in your program.
One shell at a time.
When walking the beaches of the south shore in Massachusetts I have often collected sea shells. Far too easy to pick up the shell that catches my eye because of its outstanding shape, size or varied colors. The thousands of shells I have walked passed without a second thought.
Pale in color compared to the shells.
Jagged and unpleasing to look at.
How many shells were bypassed that were in fact the most unique and wonderful shells on the beach?
What have I missed as an observer and collector of shells?
What have we missed as coaches?
What kids have we looked past to see the athlete who is the “better” athlete?
What child needed to be picked up so we could see the true value of them?
As Athletic Revolution franchisees we are all on a greater mission to change the way young athletes are coached.
This is why we will continue to set ourselves apart from from others in our industry. THIS is why will we change lives…one athlete at a time.
Keep up the great work!