What is the Point of Youth Sports?

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, October 2011.

Youth sports are a billion dollar industry, but what is its purpose? Do we invest billions in youth sports to produce professional athletes? If developing professional athletes is the primary purpose, why are professional organizations uninvolved in the development process? The NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL spend virtually no money on youth programs, instead relying on the school system and other non-profit programs (YMCA, Parks & Recreation, AAU) to supply talented adult-aged players for professional drafts. […]

Small-Sided Games Expand Sports Acumen

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, September 2011.

When Massachusetts had a five-year period where 16,000 youngsters quit youth hockey before they turned 8, USA Hockey re-evaluated its programming. Roger Grillo, regional manager for USA Hockey’s developmental program and a former coach at Brown University said in a Boston Magazine interview that “The research shows that it’s burnout. It’s too serious too soon.’’ USA Hockey adopted the American Development Model to guide the development of its young players through a long term athlete development plan.  […]

Steve Jobs, CEOs and Basketball Coaches

In 2009, I asked if CEOS and basketball coaches were similar. I cited an article by Stanford professor Bob Sutton who wrote:

Jeff Pfeffer published a paper in 1977 in the Academy of Management Review showing that leader’s actions rarely account for more than 10% of the variation in organizational performance, and often, account for much less. […]

Changing the instruction to foster understanding

Last spring, when I took a jiujitsu class, one of the first moves that we learned was an americana. For some reason, I never quite got the submission. I knew cognitively how and when to try the submission, and I had numerous opportunities to try it, but I always made a mistake in its execution. My procedural knowledge was lacking. When given time to think about it in a non-competitive setting, I could explain the hold, but when I needed to put that knowledge into practice in a time-stressed, competitive environment, the knowledge escaped me. […]

Youth Basketball Schools Initiative

Originally published in Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development, Volume 1 & 2.

Beyond the Academy, High Performance Centers and the Elite Development League, how can we improve the development system for all players, regardless of level? The above changes cater to the elite players: how do we improve the system for the recreational, developmental and competitive players who have yet to transition to “elite” or perhaps never will?  […]