I recently had a great discussion with a very experienced Sports Psychologist (75 and going strong) who has 45 years of experience working within sport and working with young people at every level from elite to just social. He attended a teambuilding event I did for a local youth football team where he works as a mentor. Much of his contribution and input through the evening led to a great conversation later that evening where we covered topics such as ..what is talent identification ? the coaches role and responsibility , building social capital and the fact that we need less instructors and more teachers within football .
One major thing I got from this conversation was that it helped me formulate a few theories that were flying around my head for the last few months. The main one being this.
We hear so much about kids being empty vessels ready and eager to receive information .Yes this is possibly true but as a coach WHAT information are you feeding your young players ? Is it the right information that will enable them to develop and reach their potential in the longterm ? or as with many coaches that prioritise a winning culture over a development culture . is it the right information for just now ,to attain that short term result ? That last sentence probably describes the culture and society we live in now , where there is a lot of pressure on attaining the quick fix , get things done quickly ,instant consumer satisfaction. This , particularly at youth level goes against the principles of nature. Nature has patience , it develops at its own natural pace so maybe we should start listening to it. Better still and more importantly maybe we should allow the young player to listen to it.
So lets just adjust the scenario slightly and come at it from a different angle. Lets see the young player as a vessel that is FULL …Full of potential. It is already all in there , our job is just to make sure that it is revealed .