The following is an excerpt from an article written by Lee Imada for the Maui News...it was brought to my attention by Clarence Gaines, Jr.
Sports as "a microcosm of life" has the ability - if given the chance - to teach young athletes more than simply how to kick or throw a ball or to play the game, says an official with the nonprofit Positive Coaching Alliance. And while winning on the scoreboard may be a goal, if it is the only goal, as legendary football coach Vince Lombardi suggests, then so much is lost on the child athlete.
"We want winners. We want competitors, but we want that life lesson piece," said Kiha Pimental, a trainer with the Alliance who ran a workshop Saturday for Maui United Soccer Club parents in the Maui Waena Intermediate School Cafeteria.
Learning to deal with defeat, overcoming challenges, seeing the benefits of hard work, working together as a team are some of the character values from sports that young athletes can take with them into their adult lives.
"We're coaching a life," said Pimental. "We're not only coaching a sport."
The Alliance trainer tried to get parents to see winning in a different light, not only focusing on the "scoreboard definition." He offered a "mastery definition" of winning that included effort, learning and the acceptance of mistakes.
Throughout the session, he provided facts about youth athletics, throwing in a "relax" after a bit of information that might debunk a widely held belief. For example, he noted that:
* Less than 1 percent of high school athletes get college scholarships. Student athletes "have way more chance of getting a scholarship if they study," he said.
* Those few athletes that may have college-level skills are better off being multisport athletes, he said. Different sports allow young athletes to use different muscles, which may prevent injury in the long run, and the diversity may prevent burnout. The highly successful Punahou School supports multisport athletes, Pimental said.
Keeping things lively and fun for young athletes is critical to keeping them playing. Pimental said studies show that 70 percent of players quit sports by age 13.
"The longer you can keep it fun, the longer they will play," he said.
The young athletes don't need the "DAGL," or "dreaded after-game lecture," said Pimental, eliciting a roar of laughter from the parents. They don't need their parents coaching from the stands, sometimes contradicting the coach; using negative language and lecturing rather than listening. He reminded parents that they are models of behavior for their young athletes.
He offered some tips:
* The "magic ratio" of positive statements to criticism is 5 to 1 (Pimental added that marriages where the ratio is 1 to 1 end in divorce, according to the study).
* "If you are starting a cheer with a verb, you are not cheering, you are coaching," he said, citing "get the ball" as an example. Adjectives as lead words are better.
* When in a conversation with a child about athletics, make sure the child is talking at least 70 percent of the time. If the parent is talking 70 percent of the time, the conversation is likely "about you," the parent. Let the child set the terms of the talk.
* Parents may police parents in the stands. If a parent is being negative or haranguing a referee, give that parent a lollipop, a signal to tone it down.
Read the entire article: http://bit.ly/snoO50