Youth Sports Philosophy And The Everchanging Environment Of Athletics
I’m going to present to you a metaphor I think most people have heard, especially if you are familiar with the kid’s bedtime story about the three little pigs and the big bad wolf. This metaphor will apply to the subject of youth sports philosophy in today’s society.
I want to talk about the foundation that the O.T.L. volleyball club was built upon. The word foundation can be used to mean many things but in this example, we are going to use the foundation of a house.
The foundation is a mixture of materials that eventually form a unifying substance that solidifies over time. When you build a foundation, you want it to be solid so that the house built upon it can withstand years of weathering. You don’t want to build a house on uneasy ground or with the wrong materials, otherwise, the house would crumble with a slight wind or a roaring storm.
In youth sports, there has been a fleet of ever-changing winds. Winds like, how our society views competition. How athletes desire to play more than practice. The responsibility of parents and their role as their child’s #1 fan.
Each of these is a form of wind that comes and goes as it pleases without any warning. They shift, displace and up-heave things unintentionally, yet mercilessly. How can the house stand in such an unpredictable environment? It is the unseen piece, the foundation, that keeps the house anchored.
Youth Sports Coaching Philosophy
I would like to introduce the unifying substance that O.T.L. was built upon. It was designed for both our coaches and players, to reinforce how we teach and learn together as a community.
These are the five O.T.L. values that help guide our coaches to remain focused on the athlete’s well-being above all else and it aims to equip our players for a victorious lifestyle on and off the hardwood.
The best coaching advice I was given was to “be true to who you are”. I had no idea what that meant until I faced adversity in my volleyball career. When adversity hits, it tends to bring out the true thoughts in your heart and mind. For others, being true to who you are, is going outside of your comfort zone to show people who you really are behind the mask of who you portray yourself to be. Being AUTHENTIC can lead to vulnerability but that is the first building block in becoming more resilient.
After authenticity, comes UNITY. We work to establish a culture in which every player is “for one another”, supporting and pushing one another to reach their goals. Unity is not only the connection that brings a team together.
The Relationships That Are Built With A Coach Can Last A Lifetime
It is also the collaboration with our training staff and more importantly the coach to a player relationship. Coaches are marked as one of the most influential people in an adolescents’ life and with that great power comes great responsibility.
Next, we promote the most fundamental principle, hard work. Both coaches and players are expected to give their very BEST EFFORT. In academia, the best effort can mean getting an A+ or for some a C. In sports, we strive to give our best effort and aim to get better every day.
Challenges are inevitable in sports. Players are still learning and growing. There will be many failures but with PERSEVERANCE, you will see a light at the end of the tunnel. Through good days and bad, difficult drills or easy ones, boring practices or exciting games, never give up or give in. Often it takes time, but the success will come.
Lastly, we discuss PURPOSE. Everything in life should be done with purpose. As much as there is a lack of resiliency in this age, there is also a lack of purpose. No longer do we contemplate what we do and why we do it.
I love the sport of volleyball. It is a passion of mine and ultimately, I feel the need to give back what the sport has given me for so many years. Take time this week to think deeply about what you do and why you do it?
There has been a lot of time, thought, and preparation put into the making of O.T.L. People from all walks of life have contributed to help launch this dream and I’m appreciative of every one of them.