With all the talk of preparation for competitiveness and the upcoming season, I thought I’d pass along the most valuable piece of advice I ever received as a new parent. When Liz and I first took Matt for a check-up, the Doc said,
“Remember to just let the kid be the kid.”
In other words, let the kids be themselves. Both coaches and parents need to always remember this, especially given how highly competitive much of youth sports is today. To be sure, kids need to be reigned in, challenged, and provided the structure and discipline to develop new skills and levels of performance. The secret is to make it all FUN so they don’t even realize it. Work with the kids, not against them. While many folks don’t realize it, the youth coach plays an unique role as a mentor, teacher, counselor, friend, example and inspiration. Daunting when you really think about it.