A lot of attention has been paid to long-term athletic development and strategies to develop elite performers. The inarguable truth is… it takes time, and a lot of work.
Unfortunately, this fact has led to aggressive training and athlete development strategies being pushed on athletes at younger and younger ages, which is counter-productive.
A 2013 study revealed that kids reported the main reason for playing sports was to have fun, whereas the parents thought the kids liked to play to win.
30% reported the behaviors of their parents and coaches as the reason for quitting.
As adults, we have an incredibly skewed perception of why kids play sports. Kids are motivated by being involved and having fun. Winning is way down on the list. The message is very clear here for parents and for coaches; we need to emphasize fun more and winning less.
The reality is that the MAIN driver in athletic development is kids developing a passion/love for the sport, and WANTING to put in the extra time/work to improve. This can’t happen if they quit.
With youth athletes, our responsibility is not to rush development or maximize performance, it’s to create an environment for the athletes to develop a passion for sport.
Feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it so others can benefit.
To your success,
P.S. Interested in age-specific year-round hockey training programs? Check out Ultimate Hockey Transformation
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Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.