Sports and commitment; a parent’s responsibility
I remember the first time I met Tom Renney. He now sits behind the bench as the head coach for the New York Rangers, but when I met him he was not much older than I am now. He had an inherent passion for the game that permeated through my competitive spirit. Tom was organized and enthused, demanding and complementary. His demeanor was professional and yet compassionate. I watched and learned from Tom more than I am sure he even knows.Success was not measured in wins and losses for Tom. He was more concerned with the process than the result. If you competed hard and you prepared well then that was the recipe for the end result. Winning was in fact a by-product of commitment to hard work, and preparation. As I look upon today’s youth, I question if Tom could have had the same level of success with the contemporary athlete at the amateur level. I believe that each generation has its own defining idiosyncrasies and as an educator we must continuously adapt to the dynamic nature of our society in order achieve success. The biggest difference that I see out of today’s young athletes is that they are a direct reflection of their parents. What? Aren’t most kids a reflection of the values taught to them by their parents? Of course they are. Not to assume that parents are doing a poor job of raising their children today, but parents today are definitely different. Their philosophy on sports and activities is not the same as parents even 10 years ago. I have noticed a large portion of the parent population accepting a much more laissez-faire approach to sports and sport teams. How does a coach deal with kids today? I have noticed a number of kids that cannot complete anything. They show up when they feel like it and they switch from one activity to another at the drop of the hat. This lack of commitment to anything has lead me to question why?
How come parents today don’t want their kid to feel as if they are bound to anything? Once again, we must look at the different generation of parents. In all likelihood those particular parents were forced into activities that they did not wish to participate in. They were constantly dragged from one sport to another and probably had limited success. They probably knew what it felt like to have a parent live vicariously through their achievements and felt completely trapped. They were a contributing statistic to the 70-percent, drop-out rate of youth sport participants currently plaguing American youth – for more information, check http://www.positivecoach.com. Their obvious response … this will never happen to my kid.The problem with these contrasting philosophies is that there is going to be a negative backlash because they are both so extreme in nature. There really needs to be a happy medium and kids do need some structure. Sports can provide young boys and girls with the necessary infrastructure for solid social and psychological development. Self-esteem is loosely defined as the way one looks at oneself whereas self-efficacy is the belief in one’s ability to accomplish desired goals or tasks. Being a part of a team can help build positive self-esteem by providing individuals with an outlet to develop self-efficacy. If an individual feels confident in his or her ability, then that person will likely develop a sense of usefulness and purpose. These are important factors in the development of self-esteem. For example, if a young boy feels that See Kersey, page A26