Parents are looking for help with youth sport. The world of youth sport they grew up in no longer exists, and so parents can end up confused and overwhelmed with how best to guide their own child through the modern youth sport environment.
Parents are afraid that if their kids don’t progress they will get left behind. So they push for progress, push for development, and push for success. Just to keep up.
Is that a healthy way to approach youth sport? Steve Locker doesn’t think so.
Steve Locker is a former collegiate (Penn State University) and professional (Hannover 96 in Germany) soccer player turned coach. Locker has coached for over 19 years including experience with Harvard University, AC Milan (Italy), and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
But Locker thinks bigger than just high performance sport. Locker is also the founder of the Locker Soccer Academy, a youth soccer development program, and author of Playing For The Long Run, a book that guides parents through the youth sport environment.
In his TEDx Talk below, Locker underscores and debunks a common notion in sport: that the earlier kids compete the faster they will develop. This approach is contrary to evidence from both youth cognitive and motor development research, as well as anecdotal experience.
Through a number of stories, Locker attempts to shift the conversation away from competition and towards development in part by putting the responsibility on the parents. In short, parents should be asking one question:
How can I, as a parent, create an environment that allows my child to be highly self-motivated, to be resilient, and to have a strong appreciation for their health and well-being?
Do Steve Locker’s stories resonate with you as a youth coach or sport parent? Let us know what you think in the comments below!