Why do kids quit sports?
A few weeks back I had a well noted Athlete and Motivational Speaker come to town to speak to a few high school football teams.
His name is Almon Gunter.
Almon specializes in speed training, fitness training, goal achieving, personal accountability and frankly, helping young students and athletes become the very best that they can possibly be.
Almon has trained the likes of Heisman Trophy Winner and All Pro running back, Derek Henry; Olympic Soccer Champion Carly Lloyd…..and nearly 1000 young male and female athletes to attain athletic scholarships in football, baseball, basketball,soccer, track & field, across the country.
Almon says a few of the major keys to success in sports (and life) is having the the proper mindset, and holding yourself accountable. No short cuts, but proper goals, a “can do” attitude and the discipline to put in the work…day in and day out.
Personal accountability…..is a big key in the equation.
On the flip side, where do you think the majority of kids in sports typically lose their drive?
Lost their will to compete?
Checked out or quit?
What is the #1 reason for a child quitting?
Was it the coach? No
Was it the work? Nope
Was it the other athletes? Nope
Well what was it?
It was in the car, on the ride home from a game or practice!
When I heard this, I was stunned.
It was for a parent riding the child, berating the child or expecting too much of the child, too early in their athletic “career”. Wow!
The child wants to learn, have fun, have friends and compete…which makes sense……while the occasional parent expect wins, domination, and will push the child to be the best….in essence, when the child in that particular case may not be able to be the best.
Almon has seen this in virtually all sports and sports camps since he was in world competitions in track, and attainted a bit of fame as the 13 fastest human on the planet.
In probing questions to Mr. Gunter over the years and in our time together last month he shared this:
A child in sports needs:
A game plan
A means to be accountable to themselves
Coaching,Correction & Follow up
Honest truth about actual abilities
With this set in place, the College, Professional, Olympic athletes….will rise up. The percentages are quite small.
Almon mentioned that the 10 year old kid being berated on the ‘ride home’ by their parent is not uncommon. It’s sad in that often times the parent is pushing the child up against unrealistic expectations….and that is when that long car ride home for the child is often the time they mentally pitch in the towel.
Given opportunities, everyone can work toward being their best self, which just may not be at the parents expectations level.
As a coach….all I can ask of a child is to follow our lesson plan, show up, work hard, hold themselvesp accountable, and do their very best……no matter what the task may be. That, I believe, will very well help them be their best self in most any endeavor.
For more about Almon Gunter: