I hear the phrase "kids these days" thrown around loosely. Often it used in an effort to glorify one's own youth experience and also condemn the goobers of our current culture. The facts are "kids these" days are a product of YOU, US, and ME. Kids these days are "pudging" out a little more, are spending more time slouched in front of a flat screen and have more experience pushing buttons on a cell phone than they do climbing on monkey bars. Conversely, adults these days are--are----doing the exact same. Adults these days don't consume vegetables and or fruits, adults these days don't find the 20-40 minutes a day out of their "insanley" busy lives to get up and move, adults these days know more about Mel Kiper's 1st Round projections than they do about who their child's favorite teacher is or what their biggest fear is. Adults these days say "my kid doesn't want to ___(fill in the blank with: eat good, exercise, stop to help someone, sacrifice a bit)---truth is its not the kids that don't want to "You probably don't want to." I condition the body with the Law of the Farm- what you reap you sow. We should condition our kids in the exact same manner and light. Lead by example.
God hasn't blessed me with kids yet- However, my coaching style reflects that of a parent. Here is my top five ways to build a champion child:
1. Show UP , Step Up, Lead Don't Manage - My dad was my first coach. It started in the yard running button hooks when I was five or six. When I was seven, no parent raised their hands during our first flag football parent/athlete meeting-so my dad stepped up. He did the best he could with no formal education or experience. I didn't get to play more than the other kids, I shared my time playing every position. I learned how to be a teammate. I will never forget that. As I've progressed into my coaching career I've realized the coaches I looked up to the most were the ones that lived the sport, that offered the hearts to me and my teammates. Some of my coaches didn't know much, but they showed up--the best ones knew how to motivate. Kids and adults alike don't want to be managed, they want to be lead and they want to be inspired.
2. You Did Good - I believe talent and potential is only truly met and released when you can get the beholder to appreciate themselves. How they see themselves and feel is a product of how their mentors, parents, coaches, and teachers see them and treat them. Tell a person what you see in them, push them accordingly to get them their. Early on with kids its a 2/3 vs 1/3 policy--spend more time building them up, but you need to also let them know they can improve in other areas as well. Remember what encourage means--To add to someones heart.
3. Reward the Effort - Future Hall of Fame Linebacker Ray Lewis once said, "Effort, its you vs you." We all have also heard the line that competition breeds success. Get kids to buy into the idea that its about competing within first and they will be on track to put forth better effort with every opportunity. Through effort where they will find out the most about themselves. Start rewarding things like enthusiasm, body language, focus, attention to detail, persistence, timeliness and you will be amazed where it takes kids.
4. Embrace Failure - I have seen a few of my kids wear a Nike t-shirt with the slogan "Fear Failure." Failure is the learning tool for success--its what sparks the flame for progress and resilience. Teach kids to take risks, to learn from failure through feedback and analysis. Push kids in a manner where they do fail. Most importantly teach kids to accept the responsibility of failure. One of my favorite lines from my high school coach Steve Rux was, "Own it, learn from it, trash it."
5. Empower - Define. Educate. Do. Make kids part of the mission. Teach them, show them the way, and than let them do. Help them involve others. Create a following. Get out of their way!