Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Archive Article - Why I Love My Job (October 2009)

Most of you reading this have been to ASF. You are an athlete, a coach, a parent, a boot camp killer. For those of you who have not, this still applies.
"Love what you do and you will never work another day in your life"....I forgot who originally said that, but it certainly holds true for me. Stick with me for a couple of minutes as I go over my personal reasons for doing what I may even agree with a couple that apply to your vocation.

1) I can't get it out of my system. The "it" I am referring to is athletics, sport, competition, physicality. I know the power of playing sports and the lessons that go along with it. Opening ASF allows me to give back to young athletes some of the same lessons that I learned growing up with sports as my platform.

2) I don't want to work for someone! Plain and simple. Call it any name: rebel, entrepreneur, leader, non-conformist. I want to do things the way I want to, when I want to and where I want to. It doesn't mean I will always do it right, but I am willing to learn from what I did wrong and correct it. I want to make mistakes because it empowers me to always do better. There is no worse way to go through life than to hate what you do and who you work for.

3) Kids make life interesting. Adults are pretty boring (sorry adults, but we are). Kids give me energy which I reciprocate. Kids make me think in new and creative ways.

4) I really, really want to make a difference in the lives of the people that I work with. It can be getting faster, stronger, quicker, but also more confident, more positive and mentally tough. I think that the initial reason that people come in isn't always the reason they continue.

5) When I wake up, I can't wait to get to work. When I am done, I don't want to leave. How many can say that?!
6) ASF has definitely taken on the personality of its owner…I am a little out there, as most of you have figured out. In order to survive as an island in a sea of mediocrity, I want ASF to be different and better.    I am pretty sure we are unlike any place in Greater Cincinnati, so we are definitely different.  I am always working on establishing ourselves as the best….that process never ends!

7) Every class I teach, every athlete I train, every Boot Camper I tortureJ, I also help myself in the process.  There is a symbiotic relationship with the giver and the receiver.  The more people that I help; the more people help me in return.  Ralph Waldo Emerson believed that, “You cannot help someone without also helping yourself in the process.”

8) Operating ASF has helped to satisfy my unyielding need to learn.  Some people are addicted to drugs, food, alcohol, etc., but my addiction is the attainment of knowledge.  Every thing I read, watch and listen to is directly shared with the athletes and adults at ASF.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Why we play games at ASF

Games play a large role of what we do at ASF, so the staff compiled 13 reasons why we believe games are so important, for kids and adults. I am sure we missed some reasons so let us know what you would add...
  • Creates a fun and relaxed environment which builds a positive attitude, team building and excitement towards training.
  • Provides a dynamic warm-up; also wakes them up for a morning session!
  • Allows coaches to indirectly evaluate athletic performance of the athletes.
  • Breaks down barriers between coaches and athletes, as well as athletes to athletes.
  • Allows athletes to experience/practice various athletic skills without formal coaching.
  • Allows sport specific athletes to expand their overall athleticism.
  • Stresses fun and enjoyment (process) versus winning and losing (outcomes).
  •  Allows “free-range” playing versus structured playing; kids are in control rather than adults :)
  • Builds social skills, especially camaraderie, support systems, bonding and emotional coping skills.  Games are also a great way to introduce new kids into our program through unstructured play.  Who doesn’t need a few new friends in the process?!
  • Teaches problem-solving, strategy and nurturing an athlete’s “Physical IQ”.
  • “Organized chaos” can lead to long-term adaptations in other settings such as school and home life.
  • Kids can make the rules and thus, follow the rules; they start to find out their intrinsic value and leadership skills.
  • Experience the unadulterated joy of human movement.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

early specialization in sports by Mike Boyle

At some point a parent decided “why not just fast-track our kids right past Little League and Pop Warner and right into the Pros”. Parents in all sports felt they could follow the lead of Earl Woods ( Tiger’s dad)
or Richard Williams ( Venus and Serena’s dad) and just concentrate on one sport. I love to tell parent groups
that I speak to that for every Tiger Woods or Venus Williams there are probably 5000 kids who hate
sports and resent their parents for all the pressure. As a parent, ask yourself this question. Have you ever told
anyone “ I don’t push _(insert your child’s name)____ he/she really wants to do this?” The latest one to fuel the
early specialization fire is tennis star Maria Sharapova. The TV folks couldn’t wait to tell us at Wimbledon that
shehad been holed up in Fla since age 7.
Check out this quote from LA Lakers Coach Phil Jackson:
“40 million kids play sports, and most of them are between 7 and 12. By the time they are
13 more than 70 percent of them have stopped playing because it’s not fun anymore. All of a sudden when
kids get into junior high, we feel this need to have them become professionals, and the coaches
become professionals… The message I’d like to get out to them is to honor the game. The goal, or the victory
is important, but team sportsmanship, the athletic endeavor itself is just as important.”
One of the problems is that most team sports are what are called late specialization sports.This mean that
early concentration/ specialization has actually been shown to slow development rather than speed it up.
Historically the great players in team sports seem to hone their competitive instincts and develop their athleticism
in a number of sports and then begin to specialize in their teens. In addition early specialization
often leads to dysfunctional parent/ child relationships. The early search for the Holy Grail places undue pressure
on a young athlete who should be learning that sports are actually fun, not just about winning. Believe it or not,
kids play for fun and, will actually attempt to make the teams fair and encourage competition when
left to their own devices. Remember when you were a kid and the teams were uneven. You made trades to create
a competitive game. The thrill was competition, not winning. For many youth sport parents the idea
of fair teams is an anomaly. Stack the team. Get the best players. Annihilate the competition. Get a scholarship.
Make money. Lets look at the following examples:
Nomar Garciaparra ( Boston Red Sox)- played football, soccer and baseball in high school. He actually attempted to play football as a kicker while on a baseball scholarship at Georgia Tech
Mia Hamm ( All Time Leading scorer in US soccer history)-multi-sport star in high school
Kristine Lilly (Leads the World in International Soccer Appearances)-captained three sports at Wilton, Conn HS.
Brendan Shanhan ( Detroit Red Wings) outstanding Box Lacrosse player prior to entering the NHL.
Katie King- ( US Women’s Ice Hockey, two time Olympian, current Boston College Women’s Hockey head Coach) played both Ice Hockey and Softball at Brown University in Providence, R.I..
And the list could go on forever. Early specialization is a phenomenon created by self-interested and financially
motivated adults. It has little basis in fact and, the data seem to support the opposite. This is just
some parental food for thought. There is no evidence to support the theory that early specialization leads to
long-term success. In fact, there is evidence to the contrary as stated above. If you want your
child to be a great athlete, don’t focus on one sport, play a different sport each season. The people who
encourage early specialization are all people with a financial interest in your child playing
one sport year round. Those encouraging early specialization usually run the leagues, camps and skill
sessions and they fill the parents full of ideas that have no basis in fact. None of the
players mentioned above left home at 14 to go to prep school or, just played one sport from
age 6. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the result to change.
Maybe we should just try the way that worked in the first place?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Letter to my 13 year old self

It has been 30 years since I was a geeky, skinny 13 year old.  Here are 13 things I want him to know about life and sports…

·        It’s tough being a teenager; you will fail often and wonder, “Why me?” on a regular basis.  Those hard times will yield valuable lessons which will shape you, teach you, mold you, harden you into the adult you will become.
·        You will strike out a lot more than reach a base, miss more lay-ups than make, drop more passes than catch; you can fail, but you can’t give up.
·        You will likely try to fit in with others, to make them happy.  Guess what?  They need to fit in with you, not the other way around.  If those kids don’t like you for you, then hang out with kids who do.
·        Sports will teach you almost every lesson you need to know about life.  Books will fill in the gaps.
·        I get it:  Grown ups are weird and mean and dictators.  They are doing the best that they can, and care about you more than anyone else.
·        There will be moments - good and bad - on the field and court that you will never forget.  Cherish those.
·        You may not like your coaches and teachers, but the good ones will be remembered long after you are done playing for them.
·        Keep figuring out who you are all the time.  You will see different labels all over the school: Jock, geek, nerd, stoner, goth, bully.  Be your authentic self.  Forge your own path and never conform.
·        The cruelest kids are just as confused and helpless as everyone else, maybe more so.
·        The ironic twist is that you want to get older as fast as possible; that will reverse sooner than you think.  Have as much fun as possible.  Be. A. Kid.
·        You will do some stupid things in the next few years.  Actually you never stop doing stupid things.  You just become wiser and try to minimize the damage along the way.
·        Talent is overrated.  Some of the most talented kids will miss the rewards of hard work because everything comes easy to them.  You are talented, but that does not excuse you from working your butt off.
·        Believe in yourself.  In a few decades you will open a business where you will be working with a bunch of (you guessed it) 13 year olds teaching them how to be better athletes.  You will use the next 30 years worth of knowledge to “pay it forward”.  Maybe, just maybe, you can be a positive influence on a geeky, skinny 13 year old trying to figure stuff out.