After I was done playing division one football under former NFL coaches I decided to coach youth sports. Actually I coached high school football for three years. In looking back, what qualified me to coach these athletes? Because I knew the sport of football? Ironically, that’s only one piece of the puzzle. Despite being a good youth sports coach, I am honestly embarrassed of how I coached given my knowledge of human performance at this point in my life.
Is your child getting the best coaching in their youth sports. Are you really an expert in youth sports. If so what qualifies you? Playing the game doesn’t hack it. In other coutnries, they require you to become a professional to coach children. Read more about the Russian Hockey System here.
Mark McLaughlin makes this concept very simple with some great thoughts here…
Here’s the link to the article from about youth sports and the lack luster coaching that our children are receiving in their youth sports programs.
Thanks Mark McLaughlin!
ARE YOU A CHEF OR A COOK?
Back in 1988 I was very fortunate to begin a friendship with an up and coming chef by the name of Greg Higgins (For the past 15 years Greg has been operating Higgins Restaurant). Greg was just beginning a new venture called B Moloch which was an upscale bakery with wood fired pizza, home made breads, and local micro beer from the Widmer. What was very evident from the beginning of meeting and getting to know Greg was his passion for food and a quest to master his craft on all levels. My cooking skills at this time comprised of cereal, toast, juice, mac and cheese, trips to Mom’s house, and the occasional scrambled or fried egg. Fast forward to present day 2013 and Greg Higgins is considered one of the top chefs in the world. He was at the forefront of the sustainable food movement. Over the past years Greg has continued to improve his skills as a chef because this is what he loves to do and he wants to master his craft. Every day he is working as a chef, he moves one step closer to knowing more then he did the day before. Since my early days of being around Greg my cooking skills have improved greatly, now I can make pizza completely from scratch, bake bread, and make a fairly good omelet but I am not a chef, I am a cook, who has improved over the years by putting some more time in and that is all I will ever be.
What does the above story have to do with athletic preparation coaching? Notice when I say that Greg was a chef and I was a cook. Now contrast this to experienced coaches who work and train athletes every day, do continuing education, test and evaluate athletes day in day out (CHEFS) to parents who may have played high school or college sports, middle school or high school coaches who are teachers during the day and volunteer coaches after school, or to parents who read something on the internet (COOKS). What always strikes me as funny is when I will get an e-mail or a text from a parent letting me know what they think their child should be doing in training “Just give him some drills he can do on his own”, “She needs to work on her quicks”, “He’s getting stronger so of course he is getting faster”, ”Just work on the opposite muscle group that isn’t so sore”, or my all-time favorite, ”We need him to put on 25 lb. responsibly in 8 months”. I wonder if when surgeons are getting ready to perform surgery do they get messages from their patients saying “Hey doc I don’t think the problem is that my ACL is completely torn I believe its my tonsils that are limiting my ability to walk so no need to do the re-constructive surgery just get my tonsils out and we will be fine.”
While I believe that parents and youth coaches mean well and want to give the opportunities to their children/players to succeed, they just do not have the educational background to understand what needs to take place over the course of many years to see the talent displayed. If we want to see our athletes achieve their full potential, first and foremost, we as coaches must take on the responsibility to have the highest level of education and learning possible. We must keep working on this which will allow to us to educate the parents and athletes as to what is truly needed to reach new performance levels. The relationship between parent and athlete will be ever changing over the career and because in America a lot of parents coach their children for prolonged stretches (because no coaching experience or educational platform is required to be a coach, so anyone can coach youth sports).
When you look at the injury rate in youth athletics in this country you begin to realize that more “cooks” are doing the coaching than ”chefs” and something must be done to combat this issue.