Athletes, Child Behavior, Coaching, Communication, Program Development, Training

How Do You Treat Your Students?

I believe the most difficult and challenging job a person can have is coaching and teaching children. It takes a certain type of individual to deal with children in a way that is productive, positive, and enthusiastic. The larger the group, the more challenging it becomes. Children are our best assets and it is the teachers and coaches responsibility to educate them in a highly controlled environment. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task.

Parents know how challenging it can be just to raise a family of several young children. Just think of the teacher and coach who has a group of 10 to 20 children. We often here the teaches say “they don’t listen” – “they don’t follow directions” – “they are out of control “.

This is a problem that is not uncommon in youth sports programs. It is how the coaches deal with this issue that needs to be addressed. Of course, bad behavior and uncontrolled environments should not be tolerated in order to operate a productive program.

Coaches need to take and maintain control of their classes – and in many cases, it can become a huge challenge. So how is this done? In my opinion, never by yelling at the students!! Coaching: The Communication Factor  This should never take place in any program. There are numerous ways to take control of a class that is productive and not demeaning to the students.

One way is to simply stop the class and sit the children down with no activity. Have a talk with them to explain why this is happening. Let them know that their behavior must improve before resuming activities. Another strategy is playing games to convince the students to behave. All children loves games. One popular game is “the quiet game”. Funny how it works.

Much of the means of gaining control in an out-of-control class depends on the dynamics of the class. Is it a competitive team that has a particular amount of discipline and commitment required by the participants? Are the students young or older? These factors play a large part in how to gain control.

In some cases, it may be just “one bad egg in the basket”. One disruptive child can destroy an entire class program. In this case, it is necessary to take that child out of the class. This needs to be done in a very sensitive manner. A parent conference needs to be held and options discussed. This is a sensitive issue and needs to be constructed in a manner that does not imply any discrimination.

Although most coaches do not have a degree or education in child psychology ( I certainly do not), but through many years of coaching, they should qualify for the diploma.  It takes patience, understanding, and structure to develop a program that is positive and productive for students in any program.  We cherish our children and students – let’s create and maintain the best possible environment where they can grow and achieve their own hopes and dreams.

I am in the process of publishing my first training manual: “Beginner Tumbling Training” .  This will be a useful tool in training for all and any needing to learn proper technique and safety. I will keep you posted on that progress. In addition, if you would like a personal training session or consultation with me, we can Skype a lesson. Private message me or email me at:

Athletes, Communication, Parent, Sports, Stress, Success

Parent and Coach Influence on an Athlete's Success: To Push or Not Push

Happy child athletes

It is always great to see parents involved with their children’s activities. Not only do the children (younger children) love it when their parents watch and support their activities, many depend on it. However, there may come a time in an athlete’s development when the parent should take a step back and allow their child to develop more freely.

One challenge the parent may have in the development of their child’s sports activity, is not understanding the true emotional desires or feelings of the child. There are many cases where the child may not have the desire to participate in the activity. It is important that parents attempt to introduce several different activities, throughout the early years, to allow the child to determine what they like best.

As an athlete becomes more serious and involved with their sport, training will become more consistent and serious. They will learn many things that are important and pertinent to that sport which will allow them to grow both physically and emotionally. They will learn the specifics of every aspect of the sport – things that the parent may not be aware of or have knowledge of since they are not actively involved with the day to day training atmosphere.

There are many aspects of development in an athlete’s pursuit to succeed. The physical aspect is only one part of development. The emotional aspect is another part of development and can be considered the most important and sensitive. As an athlete grows in their sport and begins to participate in competitions, the emotional aspect intensifies. For many athletes, the competitive arena can be a scary one and it may take time for the athlete to understand how to deal with and control the stress in those environments.

parent with child athlete

I have many conversations with parents regarding their child’s development. One of the most common question and concern is the issue of ” to push or not to push”. This issue is different for every athlete but most common for athletes in early development. The parent should be able to recognize if their child is serious about the sport or activity and this will help guide whether to push the athlete for greater achievement.

I truly believe that a person will only be successful at something they love and desire. This comes from the heart, which is internal motivation The Motivation Factor. Athletes that have this type of attitude will usually have the motivation to push themselves without much outside influence. Throughout an athlete’s career, there will be ups and downs – there will be success and failure. There will be injuries and burn-out. All of which are factors that can influence an athletes drive to succeed. Patience is important to allow the athlete to work through all challenges. Achievement is a process that takes time, experience, and consistency.

woman stressed

When an athlete is pushed hard to train for success, it may result in the athlete having a negative attitude. Especially if there has been a series of failures. This could result in continued failure and eventually and end to a career. As an athlete grows in their sport and reaches higher levels of competition, pushing the athlete can be beneficial. All great athletes need a good push periodically. It is the younger, more inexperienced athlete that may be more sensitive to being “pushed” to succeed.

However, not pushing your athlete may result in a lack of motivation or cause a lack of interest. Younger students do not understand the process of commitment and sacrifice, so they must be guided through the process. It can be a sensitive issue and one that must be properly determined by the parent.

parents cheering runners

I believe that athletes should be pushed and encouraged in their pursuit of success. But how hard to push and when to push is the issue. Every child is different and what may be beneficial to one may not work for another. The parents and coaches need to recognize this in their children and students in order to positively affect the pursuit of their goals. We want the best for all children. Some will become Champions, and many will not, but every one of them are Stars!!

I am in the process of developing manuals and videos on tumbling skill development that will be useful in training. I will keep you posted on that progress. In addition, if you would like a personal training session or consultation with me, we can Skype a lesson. Private message me or email me at:



Athletes, Communication, Stress, Success

The Stress and Emotional Turmoil on Elite Athletes: The Psychological Effect in Sports



It is exciting to see young children having desires to become someone great when they grow up. They have their sports idols and hero’s, and they want to be like them someday. It is a dream for young children, and although most grow out of that dream as they age, many others stick with it and have an opportunity to reach that dream. And how exciting it is to achieve a childhood dream. However, there are many consequences when someone reaches success. Many of these consequences are positive and exciting, but there are others that are negative and can be devastating.

For an athlete to reach the highest levels in their sport, training and commitment becomes very intense. Not only is it a great commitment on part of the athlete, but for the coaches as well. The psychological effects can be intense and can last throughout their career.

When a high-level status is achieved, the athlete should feel a great sense of success. It has usually taken many years of hard work to reach that status and only a very few ever get that far in their career. But what is hidden from the public in many cases is the untold stories of how these athletes achieved their success.

lacrosse-winner     We see great athletes perform at the highest levels, such as professional sports and the Olympic Games. We see their triumphs and excitement when success is achieved, and we also see the disappointments when success is not achieved. It truly is an emotional roller coaster for the athletes.

Reaching the pinnacle of success has its challenges and they can come from many different sources. We see it not only in athletics, but in other industries as well – entertainment and business for example.  No matter the industry, all people in the pursuit of success and achievement will have barriers to cross and stress to overcome.  Each individual has developed their own means of dealing with this stress, and it is imperative it is dealt with in a positive way as to eliminate or control its effect (Stress in Sports).

Stress anim

When success is achieved, there becomes a high level of expectancy to maintain that success. It may come from the parent, coach, friend, media and more. This expectancy increases stress levels that can have lifelong effects.  An athlete will not always win and the emotional effects when the “win” does not occur can be difficult for some to manage, especially if there are extreme external pressures to succeed.

There is much talk in the sports industry recently about how athletes are treated in their training environments. The United States Olympic Committee and related Sports Governing Bodies have increased their awareness and policies for Athlete Safety. This pertains to both physical and emotional issues. Coaches are being held accountable, now more than ever, for the mistreatment of athletes.

While there is a program in place to regulate coach’s behavior in amateur sports, there is not one in place for many of the youth sporting leagues. This may include youth football, baseball, soccer, and more. Many of the coaches volunteer their services and are often a parent of a participant. While there are some basic rules and guidelines, there are no consequences in the event of poor treatment of the students (Respect in Sports). In these environments, the parent plays a key role in whether the atmosphere in training and competition is positive or negative.

Failure Depression pic       I have not only heard of tragic stories of abuse but have seen it occur throughout my years as a competitive athlete. Emotional abuse is the most common and has the longest lasting effect. There are many athletes who have developed serious eating disorders due to the demands and abuse by coaches. Many gyms have their students weigh-in each day and are required to maintain a particular weight (in my opinion, this should be eliminated in all programs). I’ve heard stories of coaches calling students “fat” among other negative comments. These athletes are typically young, and these comments and style of treatment are devastating!! Other comments I have heard are “worthless”, “loser”, and “lazy”. This is all bad!!  Not only does this behavior destroy a young person’s self-esteem, but it may become a horrible memory their entire life.

Another factor that has been notorious in crushing the emotions of athletes is the media. The media is certainly a “double-edged sword”. It is needed and extremely instrumental in building awareness and assisting in the successful development of athletes. It is the media that catapults a person to national and international recognition. It has made many people wealthy due to this recognition. In many cases, people and companies depend on the media for success.

sports reporter

However, it is unbelievable how these reporters can be so cruel at times. We have seen how the media will depict an athlete or team for success and raise their status to guaranteed success – all prior to a scheduled event. This is great for the athlete or team in building support, but at the same time, increases stress for public expectations.

We have seen Olympic athletes promoted by the media prior to the competitive event as a sure “Win”. They put the athlete on a pedestal for expected success. Then, if the athlete does not meet those expectations the tables turn and then viewed as a great disappointment by the media and other social outlets. It is clear that many in the media world do not completely understand all the factors that go into play when considering ultimate success. And it is also clear that the media (in many cases) does not care about a person’s emotional state or consequences.

I have personally experienced great support from the media and I am truly grateful for that support. However, even though it has rarely happened, I have also experienced negative support from the media. Negative circumstances in one’s life has a much stronger and longer impact than positive circumstances.

This is why there is such a strong movement in the sports arena to improve the environment that athletes participate and grow in. Success is very difficult to achieve, and the pressures are extreme. Each athlete is aware of these pressures and most are self-inflicted and motivated. It is the external pressures that we need to consider and approach in a sensitive manner.

soccer high fives

I have always believed that champions can be created in a fun, positive, and exciting environment. I know, I lived it. It breaks my heart to hear the tragic stories of those who suffered many years in poor controlled and negative environments. Just one example of many is the recent story published about Katelyn Ohashi.  A true champion that was able to find her own path but not without years of turmoil as a young athlete.

It is our job as coaches, parents, and friends to support and nurture our students and children as they pursue their dreams and goals. For when they succeed, we also succeed. And when they fail we need to be there to pick them up and help regain their confidence.

success silhouette words

Athletes, Coaching, Mentor, Parent, Program Development

Someone Needs to be in Charge: Coaching Sports: Who is in Charge?

coach with kids

All athletes who participate in sports, whether it be for recreational or competitive purposes need to have the guidance and support of a coach. Many sports have multiple coaches that participate and specialize in particular elements of the sport. For example, in the sport of Golf, the athlete may have a swing coach, a putting coach, and exercise coach. Even recreational youth sports programs may have multiple coaches. Basketball, football, soccer, gymnastics, etc. will have several coaches on the field or in the gym. There should always be a head coach that is responsible for the entire program and assistant coaches that specialize in particular fields. This process can get cloudy, however. Throw in the parents and it becomes a nightmare. In this discussion, I will share my thoughts on the role of the coach and how it relates to the athlete.

In sports that have multiple coaches, there needs to be a definitive hierarchy of responsiblity. If this is not defined, the training atmosphere is sure to be chaotic with ongoing conflict. We have heard of the term “to many chef’s in the kitchen ” and it is no different in the sports industry. When this occurs, who suffers? the athletes!!

Not only is it an objective of the coaches to train the athletes so they can improve their skill level, they should create a positive and exciting environment for the students to train. This type of environment will certainly help to motivate the students to put forth a strong effort for success (The Motivation Factor). If there is conflict between the coaching staff, it will affect the atmosphere and focus of the athletes which may result in a lack of progress.

Coaches talking

The coach has a huge impact over the development of their students both physically and emotionally. Young athletes look up to their coach and seek direction from them. In many cases, the coach has a stronger impact over the student than their parents, as many athletes spend more time training in their sport than they spend at home. The coach has such a strong influence over the student that he or she will be the person who is responsible for the success or failure of the student. This is a huge responsibility and one that every coach should recognize.

There are many methods and styles of coaching and it can be a challenge for the coach to find what works best for each individual athlete. Every athlete is different and what may work great to motivate one student may not work well with another student. The challenge becomes greater when the coach is working with a group of students at one time. It would not be possible to communicate to each individual in detail during a training session. The instruction is directed to the entire group and all students must react and perform as directed. In this situation, all students need to accept the style of coaching presented to them.

Mean coach

So what style of communication should the coach use when working with students? There are many styles and each will have a different effect on each individual student. Some communicate in a stern and demanding manner, some use threats and negative consequences, while there are others who communicate with positive and constructive criticism (Coaching: The Communication Factor). I believe this last example should be the norm.

When an athlete is in an environment where there are several coaches training at once, there can often be confusion and conflict. The problem arises when different coaches are telling students different things on the same issue. For example, one coach may tell a student to run 10 laps while another tells that student to run 15 laps. This puts the student in a difficult situation. Which coach has priority in this case? It is this type of scenario that can cause a breakdown in productivity and positive environments.

Each coach participating in a program needs to have a specific set of objectives and be responsible for specific parts of training. Once defined, the coaches should not interfere in an area controlled by another coach. In the sport of gymnastics for example, there may be a coach responsible for training students on the Bars and Vault and a different coach responsible for the Floor and Balance Beam. Each will have their own set of objectives and training format for their students. This same concept applies to all sports that have multiple positions or events.

Parents on sidelines

A common problem in many sports, especially youth sports, are the parents. Of course, not only is the parent paying for their child to participate in the program, but they want their child to succeed. The problem arises when the parent takes it upon themselves to assist in the coaching of their child. There is nothing more frustrating for the coach then to have a parent try to coach their child from the sidelines (Coaching the Parents). This creates a huge disruption in the objectives the coaches are trying to achieve. It also distracts the student from focusing on what their coach is instructing. In this scenario, the student may be more concerned with what their parent is saying or thinking and ignoring what the coaches are saying.

Father yelling at coach

It is also common that a parent may approach the coach and attempt to dictate how their child should be coached. Are you kidding me?? Even if the parent has had experience in the sport, they have no business telling the coaches how to do their job. If the parent is not satisfied with how their child is being developed, it may be a good idea to terminate the participation and enroll in another program.

There are parents who may think the “grass is greener” at some other location or program and constantly moving their child. In gymnastics, we call this “gym hopping”. This only hurts the athlete and will usually slow down progress. It takes time for an athlete to thrive in an environment and gain confidence in their coaches. When students hop from program to program, this confidence is rarely accomplished.

group of coaches

It is the coaches job to train and guide the athletes along their path to succeed. The “head coach” needs to make sure all aspects of the training environment are organized. They need to perform as a team and insure the athletes are getting the best training possible. When there is a strong positive relationship among the coaching staff, the athletes will be in an environment that should produce positive results.

coaches teamwork

I would love to hear your comments on this subject. Also, if there are any subjects you would like me to cover, let me know and I will do my best to post my thoughts. Please Like and Share to all you believe will benefit from the information.

Athletes, Communication, Mentor, Success

Share Your Success

success silhouette words

When I was a young athlete with aspiring dreams of becoming successful in my future, I had always looked up to those athletes who have reached that success. I was motivated by them and wanted to be like them. It was even more special to meet a celebrity athlete in person. Some were very nice and welcoming but there were others who were not so nice and actually mean and rude.  What a blow that is to the aspiring athlete.  Young people need positives in their lives, especially in this very complex and crazy world we live in today.  In this post, I will share my thoughts on the importance of successful athletes presenting themselves in a positive and motivation nature and why they should Share Their Success.

flag-football coaches

All young athletes are excited to watch their favorite teams and sports hero’s on the television or at a game or event.  The young person may have aspirations to be just like their hero someday.  We, as coaches or parents, see this in our children and it is exciting to watch and feel their excitement.  These sports hero’s are considered celebrities in their sports field and they should have an obligation to share their success and stories to not only promote their sport, but to encourage the up and coming athletes who would like to reach the same success someday.

A common trap that success brings to a person is the trap of becoming arrogant.  It is very common and infects those that have reached a status of greatness.  The person may not even realize that this behavior has developed.  However, there are those that are well aware of their arrogance but do not care what people think.  This is very disappointing and a shame.  This type of person with this type of attitude can crush a young person’s idea of who they thought they were.  It is natural and deserved for a celebrity sports athlete to be proud of their accomplishments.  They not only have the right, but also a desire to showcase their success – but it should be done in a positive and welcoming manner.

Shadow of bridge

As a young athlete in the sport of gymnastics, I found success early in my competitive career.  In middle and high school, I was winning most of the competitions I participated in and developed a reputation of the one to beat.  I was gaining recognition throughout the schools and became popular.  I fell into the arrogance trap- and I had no idea I was acting that way.  One day in High School, my older brother approached me and said “you have become extremely stuck-up and you are losing most of your friends and I am one of them”.  Wow, that hit me hard!!  It truly was the slap in the face I needed to redirect my actions.  What is the world without friends and people to care about you?  I did not want to live that type of existence.  And no one should!!

From that moment on, I focused on treating people with respect.  If someone complimented me, I made it a point to always thank them.  I began to develop an attitude that it was a privilege to be successful and recognized for it.  I also was in a serious development stage in my gymnastics career and had my own hero’s I looked up to for motivation.  I had posters of the worlds best gymnasts pinned to my wall, most were USA Olympic Team members.  I looked up to those athletes on my wall and wanted to be just like them.  I had an opportunity to meet several of my hero’s in person while attending gymnastics competitions and my excitement was extreme.  All were very nice and took the time to say a few words.  This was priceless for me.


coach and athletes

As my success in sports continued to grow, the demands for my appearance became greater.  I was asked to participate in special clinics and camps.  I was hired as a motivational speaker to sports and professional groups.  It was important that I presented myself in a positive and welcoming manner.  I cared about what people thought of me and I wanted to do the best I could to inspire and motivate others.  Throughout my experiences, however, I have met other successful athletes, some with a high celebrity status, that had a disgusting sense of arrogance.  I would hear people comment on how disappointed they were in the person’s attitude.  Not only did this have an effect on me in hoping people don’t feel the same way about my behavior, but what is the likelihood that person would be invited back?

Having reached success in my career as an athlete, I make it a priority to mentor and help young athletes reach their own dreams of success.  It is great to see so many other successful athletes do their part in the same manner.  To be recognized as someone of importance is truly an honor and that person has an obligation to share their own stories of success with all that will listen.  Not all participants will reach success in sports, and the fact is that only a very small percentage will ever reach a high level of success.  But they all dream of it and they need to be encouraged and motivated.  The celebrity athlete can do that for them.  They need to Share their Success!!