Why do children play sports? According to a study by researchers at Notre Dame’s Center for Ethical Education, it’s to (#1) have fun, then—do something that are good at, improve skills, get exercise, be part of a team and enjoy the excitement of competition. But looking out at many sports fields or at many athletic events- sometimes, if we are being truthful, it looks like we are missing the mark. There are coaches screaming and parents gritting their teeth, fans yelling at referees and teammates shunning other teammates over missed goals or botched moves. What happened to the carefree freedom and fun that sports and athletic engagement once gave us? It’s no wonder so many kids drop out of sports by the age of 13. And if we are really to ask ourselves how we can develop strong athletes who thrive at peak performance- do we really think this is the way? My next guest has some other ideas that can really help us.
John O’Sullivan started the Changing the Game Project in 2012 after two decades as a soccer player- collegiate and professional- and a coach on the youth, high school, college and professional level. He is the author of the #1 bestselling books Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes, Giving Youth Sports Back to our Kids and Is it Wise to Specialize? John’s work has been featured in The Huffington Post, CNN.com, Outside Magazine, ESPN.com, Soccer America and numerous other publications. John is an internationally known speaker for coaches, parents and youth sports organizations, and has spoken for TEDx, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, US Lacrosse, IMG Academy, and at numerous other events throughout the US, Canada, Asia and Europe. He has a popular podcast for coaches called Way of the Champions and has even consulted with the US Olympic Committee.