Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Influence of One

About a month ago I had the opportunity to speak to a group of Little League Baseball coaches on the topic of what children want from sports and how coaches can motivate them to achieve. I have provided the training in years past and what tends to happen is that a group of coaches take the advice I provide and make changes in the way they coach and how they relate to the children they are coaching. Then there is the group that goes to the training because they have to and walk in knowing that they will not make any changes, or listen for that matter, because they know everything. To me, if you listen great, you will walk away and have the ability to make your season memorable for the participating children. If you don’t listen, then great, you just spent two hours that you will never get back because you were unwilling to even think that you might be able to learn from someone else who has ideas different from yours.

What I want to talk about today are those people who are willing to listen and actually try something new. There was one coach in particular at the training that came up to me when it was done and asked if I would come out to help with an idea he had. He spent the month from the training to last Friday coming up with a plan to get all of the teams in his league out for a baseball day where the focus was on skill development. Think All-Star weekend in any major sporting venue where they have a day of skills competition and then add in skill development.

This coach got the support from other coaches and volunteers to create a venue that made an impact on children, parents, and volunteers alike. Basically the day looked like this:
70 children decked out in their team uniforms ready to play.

20+ adults spending their Friday afternoon making sure that their children spent time outdoors playing.

6 stations that teams rotated to where they learned skills relevant to their sport

Skill challenges where the focus was on mastery first and outcome second

Two hours where families were out together as a community being active

FUN!

So, what is the point? The point is that one person, I will repeat, one person had an idea based off of information that he learned and made life better for over 100 involved people. Today we hear a lot about childhood obesity, youth sport participation levels declining, and TV viewing at 30 hours per week for the average child, and still we actively do nothing about it. The reality is that we can do something. One individual recruits others to help them with a vision, the vision is made into a reality, and the benefit is immediate and obvious. The plea is that each one of you who come across this message be the one individual, because apathetic children are a direct result of apathetic adults.

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