I recently looked at a reliable study of youth athletics and it said that there are approximately two hundred and fifty division one colleges and universities, three million girls who play fast-pitch softball in this country. I know many of these players and parents have big dreams about playing at a Pac 12 or SEC school, which is great. Anyone who knows me knows that I am big on kids setting big dreams. You would also know that I believe it is also necessary to set SMART goals and in this case I tell parents to look at the “R” in the SMART acronym and be realistic. Just based on the numbers getting a scholarship to a school in the Pac 12 is a tall task, and you have to be one of the elite players in the country.
Let’s take a closer look at the numbers. The Pac 12 has nine schools with softball programs and let’s say that each school carries an average of 20 players on their roster. If every program had an average attrition of 5 kids per year that would mean that there are only 45 open spots per year. This translates to.015% of the three million kids will actually realize their dream of playing in the Pac 12. The prospect becomes a little more encouraging if a player is open to one of the other 250 schools, using the same attrition number of 5 there are approximately 1250 opportunities which translates into almost 1% of the three million kids who play softball in this country will get a scholarship to a division-one college or university.
So here is my question. Is your child a one Percenter? Do they work harder than 99% of the kids they play with or against? Do they love it like a one Percenter, do they have the attitude and characteristics of a one Percenter? In most cases this answer can’t be answered in the affirmative until they are a second year 12 and under player. I also don’t think you can rule it out until the kid decides that the dream is over.
But what I think every parent should be asking even at the 10 and under age group level is “what is my daughter learning that helps with her overall development”? Are they transactional or transformational, are they interested in the overall development of the player or is it more about winning a trophy? Parents have asked me how would they know if their coach is transformational or not. Transformational coaches are interested in the development of their athletes. Transformational coaches are other-centered people, they use their power and platform to nurture and transform players. Transformational coaches are dedicated to self-understanding and empathy of their players. Parents should ask their coaches these 4 questions if they really want to know if he or she is a transformational coach instead of a transactional coach: “Why do you coach? Why do you coach the way you coach? What does it feel like to be coached by you? And How do you define and measure success?”
Transformational coaches have no problem answering these questions, in fact they enjoy sharing with people the answer to these four questions because they’ve taken the time to be introspective and make sense of they way they were coached, they understand themselves and how others influenced them, and that it produced insight and empathy, for themselves and their players. Great coaching demands introspection, integrity and integration of the coaches own life history.
If a player is not a one Percenter and does not end up getting that scholarship at the very least, they should get transformational coaching!