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From The Athlete’s Perspective

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Much of what I discuss in my blog and in my book Becoming a True Champion, centers on the teenage athlete (up to any age) and the perspective they should take in order to gain what they could out of their athletic experiences. Through my years as high school teacher and coach, I have come to the conclusion that the more responsibility an athlete takes for the things they would like to achieve, the more control they have over the possibility of accomplishing what they want. It is this type of attitude that makes the seemingly impossible become possible.

The strong foundation for my attitude on the concept of the athlete’s perspective grew out of a seed planted long ago gaining fruition through a life-changing occurrence in which the direction of my life changed, or actually gained direction, based on a very inspirational experience I had as an athlete in high school. It is what I learned through that experience (an epiphany of sorts), in combination with my educational, teaching, and coaching background, that has helped to create my focus from the “athlete’s perspective.”

It is commonly understood that when children are younger their parents, coaches, teachers and other adults in their life play a very important, or essential, role in creating a healthy developmental environment for kids and, in the context of this blog, young athletes. The choices we make and parameters we set, at the younger ages, help determine the foundations from which they make their own decisions and set their own parameters. (At least that is our hope). However, there comes a point in time when children become adolescents and young adults, full of their own desire to assert their own uniqueness. It is during this time that adult influence seems to have much less impact. That is not to say that creating a healthy environment is not still of high priority and importance, or that still setting appropriate parameters is any less significant, just that a definite shift of assertiveness to making one’s own decisions and choices takes place in those pre-teen and teen years. This is no less true for kids involved in sports, and, in essence, it is the choices the young athlete makes themselves (on their own) that will become the essential piece to whether they gain the intrinsic values available through their sports experiences and/or achieve a solid understanding of what “true” success is really all about.

In other words, no matter how good a parent, coach, or program is it will be the choices that the individual athlete makes that will determine the successfulness of that individual athlete. It is not that the guiding influences mentioned above are of little importance, “actually, many people contribute to the success of any sport or athletic activity, whether it is a team or individual sport. So, of course, coaching, parental support and good programs are important factors. But it needs to be said more loudly and clearly that the importance of these factors is still secondary to the role young athletes themselves must play in creating their own success” (excerpt from Becoming a True Champion).

It is for this reason, in addition to the experiences I have had involving my own athletic, coaching, and teaching career and watching my own two daughters struggle through the adversity of their athletic careers (from youth through college) that I have centered my energy and focus on the perspective of the athlete. And not only for the purpose of helping the athlete better understand their role and responsibility in their own athletic success but also, and just as important, to help parents better understand this perspective so as to aid in supporting personal ownership for this in their young athlete.

With the positive influences that MomsTeam is bringing to the current youth sports environment, in combination with teaching young athletes how they can succeed regardless of the environmental “cards” they’ve been dealt, “making a difference” for young sports enthusiasts becomes more reality than just possibility.

This brings me to my next blog article where I will discuss in more detail the idea of personal ownership and responsibility in creating success and why it is so important to the success of young teen athletes.


Kirk Mango

Becoming a True Champion