The beauty of athletics is the dance between opponents, each responding and reacting to the other as they pour out their mental and physical strength in an attempt to become the victor until the next battle.Read More
As adults, we have a responsibility to allow our children to be children. Why do so many parents feel the need to fill every weekend with tournaments and training at the cost of letting a child be a child? What about family time? What about letting kids hang out with their friends? These are a problem that is only being exacerbated by many people in youth sports, specifically the club coaches who promise that taking a weekend off, much less a few weeks, would be severely detrimental to the development of that player. That is just wrong thinking.Read More
“Sometimes when you win, you actually lose, and sometimes when you lose, you really win, and sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie, and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic mechanism, from which one extracts what one needs.” -Gloria Clemente, White Men Can’t JumpRead More
My dad passed away on Monday. He was a good man. He was a father to more than his sons and a friend to more than a few. This is one of my favorite moments as his oldest son.Read More
To find more success in youth sports, simplify your playbook, increase your ability to connect with children, and practice in-game situations. But whatever you do, don’t assume the child has learned how to listen and respond. We are the adults, and we are their models for how to be.
Be a great adult.
Remember, we are in the business of creating adults. In the past week, I have not seen a cone, replaced a cleat, or heard a whistle, but I have had hard conversations with other adults. I can do that in part because the youth coaches I had were my models for communication and I was lucky to have some really great examples.Read More
Character matters. It shows in the little moments that don’t take much effort but have major effects. Find ways to celebrate a player who displays wonderful traits like empathy; but more importantly, be a model of empathy to your players.Read More
In defeat, there can be success. Be the coach that empowers others to make the attempt, regardless of the scoreboard.Read More
“LEATH! LEATH!” I hear my replacement yelling my name. I jog to the sidelines and report to my position coach. He is furious. At 5’9, my defensive back coach played college football at the same position I was just relieved of. I prepare myself for a wicked tongue lashing, but I get nothing.Read More
The focus of the coach should be on creating confident, fundamentally sound athletes during the week. Then, on gameday, let them play. Give the athletes the tools they need and let them build a victory. When the game starts, it is less about coaching anyway and more about managing. If your young athletes can master the basics and they truly understand their job on each play, then you are way ahead of most youth football coaches I come across who focus more on tricking the other coach than on developing sound football players.Read More
This is one way to create team culture. It doesn't happen on accident, but when a coach is intentional about creating a positive environment, great things happen.
It starts with you.Read More
You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.Read More
What do you say to a child after they lose a game? Tread lightly.Read More
This is Odell Beckham Jr. on November 23, 2014, making what might be the greatest touchdown catch in NFL history. [video width="480" height="480" mp4="http://jamesleath.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/IMG_0275.mp4"][/video]
What most people did not see is how Beckham prepares before the game. Here is a snapshot:
[video width="480" height="480" mp4="http://jamesleath.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/IMG_0274.mp4"][/video]
You see, to Beckham, the catch was nothing out of the ordinary. He trained for that catch. He practiced it. It was a reaction to the situation. Greatness is never a surprise to the prepared.