Have you seen Sebastian Vettel’s retirement announcement?
It is a powerful watch.
In the four-minute video, Seb spends 90% of the time talking about who he is and what he wants to do. Away from the track.
“There is still a race to win”.
What an excellent example for aspiring athletes (and coaches and parents) around developing a well-rounded identity.
Coaches and parents – keep this video in your back pocket for modelling balance to your athletes / aspiring children.
On athlete identity
We’ve previously shared numerous thoughts around identity in youth sports.
But to add to this, it’s important to note, we don’t want to diminish the reverence that some young people might hold for their sport. Seb, after all wouldn’t have had the success he had if he didn’t care deeply about racing.
But if you hold the view that sport is an excellent vehicle for developing healthy, well-rounded and balanced individuals, it’s worth pondering what does it take to make this happen? What are the ingredients? Is it just sport itself?
Sport doesn’t build character, it reveals character
By now, you’re probably hearing echoes of the often quoted line from our friend Dr. Ralph Pim “Sport doesn’t build character, it reveals character”.
Significantly, Dr. Pim also stresses it takes skilled and purposeful leaders to use sport as a vehicle for developing character in young people.
Why bring this up? Well, it’s a similar lesson for coaches and parents when it comes to helping aspiring young athletes, and supporting them to find balance.
The key word here is purposeful. We ought to be considered and reflect on how we, as adults, might purposefully support aspiring young athletes to find balance (and not just assume they will).
Helping young athletes find balance
Here are three quick ideas worth trying with your athletes or children:
1. “You don’t coach a sport, you coach people”
Professor Wade Gilbert spoke at length about this in his last webinar with us. Good coaches coach people first, sport second. It might be subtle, but getting this frame right can make all the difference as a coach in your approach to supporting the growth and development of young athletes.
2. Ask your athletes random questions (not related to sport)
This play comes from legendary NBA coach, Greg Popavich. Pop saw that his role wasn’t just about getting the best out of his players as athletes, but that it was important that he and his coaching staff supported the development of great people.
Read the following quote from a Wall Street Journal article on the San Antonio Spurs coach
He wants his players to be engaged citizens. It makes for a fuller life. He believes there are basketball advantages, too. He thinks it makes them want to play with and for each other. “I think it’s sad if a person’s whole self-image and self-worth is based in their job,” he said. “Whether you’re a basketball player, a plumber, a doctor, a mailman, or whatever you might be, why not try your best to live a more interesting life that includes other people, other cultures, and different worlds?”
3. Role model emotionally intelligent responses to failure and adversity in sport
Don’t put a tragedy to waste. Turn adverse moments into teachable moments.
Within failure, loss and other unflattering experiences in sport lies a host of opportunities, that with the right support and framing, can help young people to learn, grow and develop.
As Sebastian Vettel says, even after sport, “there’s still a race to win”.
Enjoyed above? You might find these articles of interest then
- Developing your coaching identity
- Developing a team identity
- How coaches can help young athletes develop a growth mindset?
- Key ways parents can use sport to develop a growth mindset in their child