“Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child”
One of our most important roles as coaches of young athletes is to educate parents. Quite simply a parents role in their childs athletic development to;
We truly believe parental support can play a huge role in the success/limiting of success of a young young athlete.
We are therefore putting together a few posts in the coming weeks to help parents understand a young athletes development.
Be aware of early Succeeders.
So this brings us onto an important topic – the development of ‘Early Succeeders’.
To be put simply, an early succeeder is a young athlete who shows great potential at a young age. They could be a stand out player in their team or excel at their chosen sport against players of the same age.
Early succeeders are then highlighted and can be put under a spotlight at this young age. Coaches and parents latch onto this and think they have the next Raheem Sterling (football reference sorry) right in front of them.
This can lead to a child specialising in a sport to early, in fact research undertaken in a Canadian study showed an 82% drop out rate in three years in young athletes identified ‘early succeeders’. Primary reasons for this were – parental pressure and burn out.
The sad reality is early succeeders often set parents up for failure by creating an unrealistic expectation.
Early succeeders have a tendency to have their growth spurts earlier than other young athletes. Therefore their greater stature and physical capabilities can partly be the reason they are actually ahead of other young people.
As coaches and parents we need to nurture this talent not push it to burn out. We as a weightlifting club have encountered a few early succeeders and ensure we take a balanced approach to how we work with them.
We aren’t interested in decorated youth athletes who will then never make it to senior level.
Here are some of the things we look to implement with early succeeders (and pretty much everyone else).
We encourage our young guys to play lots of different sports. Specialising early can ruin a young athlete reaching their potential. Very few sports specialise before 16-18 (diving, gymnastics and swimming are a few examples of exceptions). Skills form other sports will always transfer over so it may actually aid an athletes development.