The Hierarchy of Needs in Youth Sports

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, October 2013.

The recent publication of Sports Illustrated writer David Epstein’s The Sports Gene has spurred the age-old nature versus nurture debate in talent development, specifically sports. After five-plus years of the 10k-hour rule after the publication of Outliers and other books, Epstein has shown that there is no rule: Some athletes attain expert levels in far fewer than 10k hours, whereas some athletes take far longer. In Epstein’s view, this difference stems from training adaptations, and these often have a genetic component. Therefore, Epstein concluded that talent development is “100% nature and 100% nurture.”  […]

Fun Games, Obesity, and Burnout

Originally published by Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, September 2013.

Every day, my twitter feed is littered with articles about childhood obesity, and the need for children to eat better and exercise more. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. In 2011, only 29% percent of high school students had participated in the recommended 60 minutes per day of physical activity on each of the 7 days before the survey (CDC, 2011). Meanwhile, I am bombarded with articles about burnout and the need for recovery. Are the two related? How can we – at the same time – have a nation plagued by obesity from a lack of physical activity and a nation plagued by burnout and overtraining in youth athletes? […]

Coaching a European Club – Week 16

After reading through some of my old blogs, I realized that I had gotten too far away from a skill development emphasis. One reason is the lack of an assistant coach – when I split up posts and guards to do some position-specific skill work, one group is by itself. Generally, this group does not go as hard as if I was watching them, so the skill work is less effective. I stopped the guard/post breakdown for a period of time for this reason, and because there were two weeks when we were missing all of our true post players. This week, I decided that it did not matter; we needed more of an emphasis on skill development.  […]