Spelare5 Ways Early Specialisation Hurts Athletes GROWTH & MATURITY IN ACADEMY FOOTBALLERS Timing runs to stay onside
I’m Rob Anderson, founder of Athletic Evolution which exists to positively impact the long term development of youth athletes, at the grass roots level around the world.
Alongside Athletic Evolution, I work fulltime in the Scottish Rugby Academy system, helping youth athletes pursue their ambitions to play at the highest level. I’m the Lead Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Scottish Under 16 National Team program. I’m also a Coach Educator for World Rugby and Scottish Athletics in their strength and conditioning and physical preparation courses.
Athletic Evolution aims to provide high quality, practical and applicable information to coaches, in an accessible and easily understandable format, in order to help them improve their coaching.
Athletic Evolution supports coaches of youth sports in a variety of ways including:
- Free online articles, interviews and other resources for coaches
- Athletic Development training programs for use with youth athletes
- Educational workshops for coaches and athletes
- Consulting with schools, clubs and organisation
Sport is upside down. Most of the coaching expertise and resources are available at the top levels of performance, where the fewest participants are. In contrast at the grassroots level, where the highest number of participants are, coaching expertise and resources are usually very limited. I want to help improve grassroots level sport for youth athletes, by helping sport coaches access the information to help them learn, grow and improve in their coaching, thereby improving the experience for youth athletes and their likelihood of performance in the long term.
In my own practice as a coach, I can influence in the athletes I coach. If I can influence more and more coaches, then this influence spreads much further and wider.
My philosophy is that it isn’t just about the physical performance or the “athlete” performing.
We need to recognise and appreciate that athletes are human beings first and foremost and with this comes an inherent value regardless of performance. Secondly, to recognise that coaches are in a privileged position in society to influence lives. In my own development, my coaches played a key role in encouraging me to develop enthusiasm, a growth mindset and commitment to hard work. In order to be a positive influence in the lives of those we coach, we need to take a holistic approach, valuing not only their athletic ability and achievements, but also their human side and taking an active role in helping develop positive character traits. Not only will this help produce better people, but it will also help produce better athletes also!
For me the most important thing is the impact I leave on the lives of other people. Titles and championships fade but people remember the impact you had on them. My measure of coaching success is how many athletes will look back on their time with me as influencing them positively in and outside of their sports performance.
Choosing positive reactions in challenging moments with athletes/coaches. Keeping a lid on your emotions and trying to be truly “athlete centred” in how you tackle a situation or problem.
In the words of Ghandi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I hope NYFA will create improved sporting experiences for youth athletes. I hope it will start to tap into the huge potential sport has to create positive change in the lives of children and adolescents, by positively influencing the coaching practice and environment of youth sport.
What I find most exciting is working alongside like-minded coaches and consultants with a common aim. I’m excited so far by the great conversations I’ve had with the staff of NYFA about the values we wish to work by and how we all want to leave a legacy of positive change.