I am always amazed when people make decisions that do not seem to be in their best interest. Alternatively, decisions made on a whim are not good, worse though if it is based on the opinion of someone else who does not really know you or may even have an agenda. What amazes me even more is when parents make a decision for their kid in this manner and worse yet is when parents make a sports decision for their kid without consideration of the big picture.
I just finished reading a book by Oprah Winfrey called “What I know for Sure “, and from what I understand it is the question she ask in her monthly magazine “O”. It dives into those things that we know for sure from our personal experiences, our life’s journey. Well, I have been thinking a lot about the things that “I Know for Sure”, especially when it comes to parenting and youth sports. For example, “I know for sure that if kids dream about where they see themselves in the future, set SMART goals based on their dreams, have clear affirmations that they look at regularly, develop an action plan that they follow and adjust along the way. They can attend the college of their dreams like UCLA, San Diego State or Stanford, and live the life they imagine”.
Therefore, for parents and kids who play high-level sports, one of the things I Know for Sure, and I just told this to my parents of the new team that I just picked for this fall is that your kids are not as good as good as you think. Something that I also know for sure is that parents will spend thousands of dollars on equipment and more spent on private instructions, but they spend little to nothing on mental development. Mental development not only helps them be better at the sport they are playing, but it helps them off the field as it also prepares them for life after sports. In addition, when the mental development happens from transformational coaching most parents still do not realize how important it is until after the fact or when they experience the transactional coach who only cares about wins and who does nothing to prepare them for life off the field.
As I mentioned at the top parents will listen to someone they don’t know, who may not even be qualified over someone that they do know, who has a track record not just with hundreds of kids over a 20 year span, but his own kids are a living resume of the work he’s done. Yet they will drink the Kool-Aid of the novice. What I have come to know for sure is the softball parents chase that next big thing as an addict chases his fix. Like a leaf blowing in the wind parents jump when the need for change isn’t required and the next big thing is overrated.
But as a coach sometimes we too are that new thing so I get it, but at least my track record speaks for itself, or through the kids I have coached and not just my three but hundreds more.
People who I do not know who I have never coached seem to have opinions on me so let me share what people who do know me are saying:
“My daughter, Lena, came to La Shawn with already strong pitching skills and having achieved a fair amount of success. While La Shawn certainly knows the mechanics and finer points of teaching pitching, our reason for selecting La Shawn was his ability to instill and build confidence, to help frame the lessons from a loss and set-backs, and to help translate the lessons of elite sports to life. Lena strongly desired to “get to the next level”, which for her included pitching at the highest level in 16 & 18U including National Tournaments and being recruited to play at a D-1 University.
What was important to us, was that La Shawn was able to help Lena see her strength and capabilities. La Shawn also utilized a personal assessment tool that provided Lena a valuable new way of seeing and understanding herself. La Shawn reviewed her games, tournaments, practices. He took the small lessons along the way and framed them to help Lena see the next steps. I appreciated watching La Shawn draw upon his years of experience coaching including his personal experience working with his daughters.
Over the course of time, there were some big wins and some losses to some terrific national teams. There were D-1 schools that expressed interest, and others that just blew her off. Today, Lena is pitching at UC Santa Barbara, where she continues to apply many of the lessons learned while working with La Shawn”.