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Youth Sports Think Tank 2019 Day Seven Review

The Power Of Love In Excellence

“Honour their timeline, process and way of learning.”

Welcome to my Day 7 review and summary of the GO! Chase Excellence in Youth Sports Virtual Think Tank.

My review focuses on one presentation that I have viewed in the last 24 hours.

Each of my reviews follows the format of the Think Tank ‘Workbook & Reflection Journal’ provided alongside each of the sessions:

  • What – What issues does this session address?
  • So What? – Why are these issues important?
  • Now What? – How can I address these issues or implement the ideas in this session?

Today’s Review

Today’s review is from the “Compete” track of the Think Tank. The “Compete – Coach the  Sport” track is focused on the technical and tactical (hardware) skills required to be a transformational coach on the field.

The presentation I chose today was “The Power of Love in Excellence” featuring Stacie Mahoe. The session is hosted by Coach Reed Maltbie.


How do I determine where to draw the line between pushing my child too hard and not pushing them enough? How do I get my child to work hard?

If you child is doing what they love and love what they do, and they have ownership of their sporting experience, these questions become irrelevant.

The commonly-held belief that kids need pushing towards excellence stands in the way of some valuable experiences – particularly those associated with them being able to express autonomy, self-reliance, assertiveness and self-belief.

It is understood that traits such as effort, commitment and determination builds excellence, but the real key is to understand where these characteristics come from. Generally, it is love that drives excellence and the love of a task or process cannot be forced. A parent’s and coach’s job is to foster and nurture that love.

How to foster what kids love

  1. Be interested in who they are and what they love. Chat about it. Be interested in their interests.
  2. Listen, don’t tell. Don’t take over conversations.
  3. Work to define children by who they are, not what they do.
  4. Once you see them as a “who”, then work to understand their “why” for doing things and tap into it.

Shouldn’t we sometimes make kids do things to do that they don’t want to do?

When kids are engaged in activities that they love, they will have the opportunity to do things that they don’t want to do.  This may include having to get up early to get to a competition or foregoing something else that they like. It won’t be fun, but it will be worth it. It will be connected to an outcome that they want, rather than them being forced to do things that they don’t like just for the presumed sake of an intended “lesson”.

How involved should parents get?

There are other options besides being completely full-on as a parent or taking a “hands-off” attitude. A hands-off approach can lead to chaos. Rather, think of a parent’s role as offering support, insights and encouragement.

There is no need to constantly push kids and it is difficult not to constantly step in but a belief in the journey and a trust in the process will make it more likely the child will be involved for the long-term and get where they want to go.

So What?

When kids are doing what they want to do, their rate of progress increases. Forcing kids to do things leads to not as good a gain.

If we are pushing or pulling kids along, they are being driven by an external locus of control. If we take away their internal locus of control, we are taking away an important factor in intrinsic motivation, which is vital for ongoing commitment to a task or process.

Now What?

We often underestimate what kids can do and the good decisions that they can make. I have seen the buy-in from kids that results when coaches and parents set the scene, provide support and then get out of the kids’ way and let them do their thing.

As a coach I have always valued the process of getting to know what makes each kid tick and not assume their motivations. Over the years I have learnt the value of at times handing the wheel over to the kids and letting them drive the experience.

As a parent, I am determined to take a relaxed and supportive approach to my children’s sporting journeys.

As a coach developer and parent educator I am in a prime position to help the key people within a child’s sporting journey realise the power in empowering kids.

Favourite Quotes From Presentation

“Love cannot be pushed, forced, demanded or commanded.”

“Honour their timeline, process and way of learning.”

Further reading


How to Empower Young Athletes

How to Get Buy-in From Young Athletes By Giving Them a Voice

Get Out of the Kids’ Way on Game Day

Youth Sports Think Tank 2019 Day Six Review

If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.

20150614_154020-1Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on TwitterFacebookLinkedin, Anchor or via email.

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