I was excited to visit the US on a sports diplomacy trip to learn and develop the content related to Inclusive Coaching for SG-Coach’s formal coach education. The trip was organized by the US Department of State, SportCares, SportSG and FHI 360.
Looking back on the trip, two things stood out. The first would be the new friendships forged. With those that I’ve known prior to the trip, we grew closer and renewed our commitment to make Singapore a more inclusive society.
Secondly, I am so thankful to be given the chance to learn from the many successful American sports teams, schools and non-profit organizations such as Cincinnati Football Club, US Paralympic Swimming, University of Texas Swimming and Dive Team, Starfire Council, Special Olympics Texas and The Play for All Abilities Park.
“What is their formula for their success?”
“What makes these organizations achieve the seemingly impossible?”
Success leaves clues and these were questions that I needed answers to. This post is a reflection about the fundamental commonalities that make these organizations successful.
“Musical extemporization is the creative activity of immediate (“in the moment”) musical composition, which combines performance with communication of emotions and instrumental technique as well as spontaneous response to other musicians.” Gorow 2002, 212
Extemporization of any art form (including sport) is often associated with expert level of performance.
“What’s the difference between music and noise?” Music’s organized noise.
Much has been preached about the attitude of gratitude. Almost every religion or philosopher (even Bayfucius) advocates it, but what’s the science behind it? How does it make us better, happier and even more resilient?
When we express gratitude, we are Focused On What We Have instead of what we don’t.
Gratitude is somewhat counter-intuitive in a country where we “Everything also complain.” Furthermore, Singaporeans are an ambitious lot, always focusing on achieving what we do not have yet. This may develop to become a sort of blindness that limits our worldview, i.e., we are less likely to notice the good in our lives and even the opportunities that come our way.
It was probably in 2012 or 13, and it was the finals of a ‘B’ Division game between two of the best schools in Singapore. The stands were filled up with students, old boys and parents from both sides. While the behaviour of the students was exemplary throughout the game, the same could not be said for the adults.
Yup! Am talking about badly behaved sport parents and adults. This was one of the worse incidents that I have come across. I could hear adults shouting and yelling all sorts of instructions and expletives from the stands, jumping up to express their frustration and shouting to contest the referee’s decisions.
One parent absolutely took the cake! He actually tried to get closer to the field of play by pretending to be a photographer and started yelling at the player from the opposing team.
Why so much drama???? It’s literally only a game played by younglings!
While the last post’s discussion centred on adopting more of an autonomy-supportive style of coaching rather than a controlling one, this post’s focuses on the behaviour of parents and coaches. Here are some pointers to consider:
“In the 1950s only 12% of young adults agreed with the statement “I am a very special person”, 77% of boys and more than 80% of girls of the same cohort by 1989 agreed with it.” Jean M. Twenge, The Narcissm Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement
It’s been 20 years since 1989 and I’m pretty certain that the percentage today is close to 100%.
Wouldn’t that make the one who feels that he isn’t special the truly SPECIAL one then?
Today’s post focuses on the HOWs to help young athletes do their best without being overwhelmed by the pressures to win and to look good. Specifically, the focus is on how we can help young athletes build resilience in sport and life through a constructive Parent – Athlete relationship.
Its universal, young athletes seek approval from their parents, and parents, for the most part, have their children’s best interests in mind.
However, against the current climate where early specialization is the norm and Direct School Admission (DSA) often the main motivation, it’s easy for parents, coaches and young athletes to get overwhelmed by the competitiveness of youth sport.
Over the years as a PE teacher and later as a Sport & Psychology coach, I’ve observed how expectations placed on athletes by their parents have not only undermined their enjoyment but their confidence as well. As a result, many aspiring athletes suffer from performance anxiety, burnout and give up on sport altogether.
Make no mistake, parents have the best intentions but they may not know how best to help their children strive for success without undue pressure. I’ll attempt to share how we can address this challenge over 3 posts. The information will be organized into 12 related tips that are built on each other.