The Leadership Crisis in Youth Sports Today

The Leadership Crisis in Youth Sports Today

Note: This article was originally published in Soccer Today on Jan 16, 2021.

Why are today’s players more mentally and emotionally fragile than ever? Why are there fewer leaders?

I was 12 years-old and playing in my Little League’s championship game in 1988. I was the team’s shortstop and batted third in the lineup, but in the top half of the first inning, I struck out looking (on a pitch that was way off the plate) to end the inning.

I was upset.

On my way back to the dugout to retrieve my glove, I threw my helmet. It skipped off the ground, ricocheted off the chain-link fence, and grazed one of my teammate’s legs as he was emerging from the dugout. Startled, he reactively said “ow” loud enough for the coach to hear. 

My coach turned around, quickly pieced together what had happened, and barked, “did YOU throw that?”

I nodded sheepishly, and he told me to go sit on the bench. The...

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Failure Can Be a Gift...If You Have the Proper Mindset

My daughter failed last week. She applied to attend an art field trip where they were only taking two kids in her 5th grade class. She loves art, is extremely creative, and an excellent writer, so she was devastated (for a 10-yr old!) when she was not selected. 

You never want to see your kid upset when they fail to achieve something they wanted badly, but in a way I was actually happy she was not selected. And it made me reflect on how I wish she would “fail” in a comparable way in sports sooner rather than later.

Why would I feel this way? Because sometimes failure can be an invaluable gift if we have the right mindset. In fact, failure can be the spark that ignites your inner fire and unlocks the greatest version of yourself. 

When I talked with my wife about my daughter’s art application, she said my daughter essentially mailed it in with minimal effort. She’s a great writer for someone her age, yet her she did the bare minimum when it came to...

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