- WYC 042 – Changing the Game – John O’Sullivan talks Sports Specialization vs Early Engagers (Winning Youth Coaching)
Locker Room Talk:
Look for the best in each athlete in your care…
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer
Believe in them before they believe in themselves
The Power of Positive Parents
“I have been around High School Sports for the past 32 years as an athlete, coach, fan, parent, and wife of a coach. In this time I have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows both personally as an athlete and fan, and then as a wife and parent. I was blessed to be a part of a State Championship team in High School which forever changed my life, and have been a part of my husband’s career as a head coach for the past 20 years and my son’s athletic adventure for the past 10 years. In that time, I have been privileged to know some amazing kids and witnessed some wonderful seasons with State Trophies being awarded, and scholarships offered. I have been privileged to meet some wonderful friends along the way in both the parents and the players, coaches from other schools, and yes even some great refs!
When I look back on all the successful seasons there is one thing that remains a constant- The Power of Positive Parents for ALL the kids on the team, not just their own. When Rob first started coaching, I remember getting the strangest looks from people in the crowd as I cheered for all the kids as if they were my own. Of course I also got the strangest looks as I lost my composure yelling at refs. (I am still really trying to work on this one) Anyway, to this day I have never understood why I get these looks (about cheering for the kids, not yelling at the refs) To me, all the kids are mine to cheer for. They are part of our family not just for 4 years, but for life.
In every season in which Rob has taken a team to state there were some major bumps in the road, some huge hurdles to jump, and some hard lessons to learn, but once the parents finally got on board and stayed positive with ALL the kids and coaches, things started to turn around. The team of 2010 who I nicknamed the “Cardiac Kids” were a 1-6 team going into conference play, I heard parents say all kinds of things in the stands from firing my husband, to kicking kids off the team, to transferring their kids to different schools. I have had people ask me several times, “How did your husband get it turned around?” as that Team ended up winning the 5th place trophy at the State Championships. Rob never really answers the question with one answer, but always attributes it to the boys belief in one another and the program.
I have a different take on it, things started changing when the parents began to see the Team as THEIR team not just their kid’s team. They cheered, rather than complained, they supported the coaching staff, rather than ranting about them, and when a parent fell off the wagon, they made sure to get them back on.
I remember when that team went on to the Sundome to play in the game to get to the elusive Saturday (which is Trophy day) we were down by 12 points very quick into the first quarter and a friend and I were just ranting and complaining about everything, when finally she took me aside and said, ‘Enough! We are gonna just cheer our A$$es off and see what happens, cause complaining isn’t helping anyone.’ so we did, and guess what, yep we went on to win and it was one of the most fun games I have ever witnessed and participated in as a fan. Ever since then, I absolutely refuse to do anything but cheer, and if I can’t do that, then I don’t say anything. These kids…YES remember they are KIDS, and coaches deserve our full support, ALL of them, not just your own.
Take some ownership in trying to make the experience positive. They hear and see you, and you do have a lot of power with your actions. Make it positive, I promise it feels a whole lot better win or lose, and you can know you did all you could to help your team.”
– By Tonian Gray
Power of Teamwork…
A man became lost while driving through the country. As he tried to read a map, he accidentally drove off the road into a ditch. Though he wasn’t injured, his car was stuck deep in the mud. Seeing a farmhouse just down the road, the man walked over to ask for help. “Clyde can get you out of the ditch,” the farmer said, pointing to an old mule standing in a field. The man looked at the haggard mule, and then looked back at the farmer, who just stood there nodding. “Yep, old Clyde can do the job.” The man figured he had nothing to lose, so the two men and Clyde made their way back to the ditch. After the farmer hitched the old mule to the car, he snapped the reins and shouted, “Pull, Fred! Pull, Jack! Pull, Ted! Pull, Clyde!” With very little effort, the lone mule pulled the car from the ditch. The man was amazed. He thanked the farmer, patted the mule, and asked, “Why did you call out all those other names before you called Clyde?” The farmer smiled and said, “Old Clyde is almost completely blind. As long as he believes he’s part of a team, he always gives his best.”