So the conference yesterday went very well for being the first ever. I am really starting to love these conferences as this is the third one I've attended in four weeks (also went to the Perform Better Summit in Providence, RI and the Boston Hockey Summit at Northeastern University). My obsession with these conferences stems from my thirst to learn new things. Continued learning is very important to me and I think the development of a young coach depends on their ability to learn. Secondly, I love meeting new people and the networking opportunities at these conferences is unbelievable. Here is my take:
The speakers yesterday all gave great presentations about coaching from varying angles, so this was great to see how each of these very respectable coaches described their responsibilities as a coach and the variance among them was amazing. I especially liked the presentations from Jack Parker, Lou Bergholz, and Dean Conway. I have seen most of these coaches present before either in class or at other conferences, so as far as networking is concerned, I was basically catching up with people and reconnecting with others, although I did meet a few new coaches that I've never seen before.
The overall theme of the conference (despite the title of Psychology of coaching teams) seemed to be that coaches today are putting too much pressure on their kids performance especially in youth sport and emphasizing specialization too early in their athletic careers. Whatever happened to a young athlete figuring things out on their own and recognizing what they enjoy the most before they pursue something full time. I do not believe there is much value in figuring everything out for a young athlete either as a coach or a parent. If you are a coach or a parent, I encourage you to give your young athlete many decisions, many opportunities and then let them decide what's best. Not only will they be happier and get more fulfillment from the activity, I think putting the decision in their hands will empower them to make choices later in life and teach them how to approach these future choices.