Angels Baseball

Progress is Key

Progress is Key

 

Back in 2017, Tony Robbins, the world-famous author and speaker, gave an interview to CNBC and said “I always tell people if you want to know the secret to happiness, I can give it to you in one word: Progress.”

 It’s no secret that no longer having fun is the main reason why kids quit sports; and they are doing so by the age of 11 (https://www.aspenprojectplay.org/news/kids-quit-most-sports-by-age-11).  There have been plenty of studies, news stories, and featured articles publicizing this fact.  But the root of the problem still remains a mystery.  Why are kids no longer having fun?
I believe that every (or at least most) coach, volunteer, and parent goes into every season hoping their kid has fun playing their sport.  But I see very few focused on Robbins’ idea of “Progress” as being the secret to happiness.  Most believe they need to let the kids play games (not necessarily actual games; but ‘challenges’ where you see who can knock a ball over or who can hit the ball the furthest).  And unfortunately I have seen many parents or coaches at the Rec Level not bring their kid back to attention when they see them spinning in circles or dancing on the field.  Why, because they see their kid smiling and “having fun.”  And they don’t want to be the one to tell them to stop having ‘that’ fun.  But this sort of fun won’t keep your kid playing the game.
Over the past several years, we have been using Robbin’s approach of Progress as the key to happiness, or in this case, fun.  We believe that if you operate in the following cycle, kids will have fun.  

The key to the cycle is getting started with developing a culture of working hard.  Oftentimes, coaches do not want to challenge kids at a young age for fear of driving them away from the sport.  I believe that coaches want kids to improve; but fear pushing them.  We also don’t practice enough.  Let’s face it, most kids will not work on their game at home.  Only a select few will practice on their own or with a parent.  And if your team does not “Practice Frequently”, you slow down the process of having fun.  Practicing hard once a week (which is what a lot of Rec teams do) will not generate the progress one seeks as quickly as practicing hard 3 or 4 days each week.  

If you can find a way to get your kids practicing a few times each week, and with a coach that demands energy, SKILLS WILL IMPROVE.  And hopefully you can do this without breaking the bank.  Once kids see their skills improve, they will become happy and they will want to do it more.  The better they get, the more they want to do it.  And it doesn’t take much improvement to make a kid happy.  And the level of improvement is different for each kid.  For one, it may be simply hitting the ball.  For others, it may be that they are hitting the ball further.  We can help kids understand their own individual levels and where they can get to with the amount of work they are putting in at the field.

Tony Robbins has produced significant results in his life, both in his own life and in the lives of many others.  Why don’t we take a page out of his book and apply it to youth sports?  We can’t be afraid to challenge kids.  They want to be challenged.  They want to have fun; but we need to understand that fun (or happiness) is PROGRESS!