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Timeout! The Importance of Downtime for Youth Sports Families

Hello friends, and Happy Wednesday. The past few weeks you did not hear from me as my two teenage children, my wife and I took some downtime...way downtime as in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. We spent 8 days paddling the lower half the the Colorado River for 130 miles of blissful waterfalls, roaring rapids, and most importantly, tech free connection with our fellow paddlers and our family. It was amazing to completely disconnect, to stare at star filled skies, and billion year old rocks, and realize how small we really are. The picture above is us after 8 days, ready to take out at that diamond shaped peak behind us.

It was also critical to disconnect from sports for a while. Sure, my kids could have gone to an extra camp or tournament, and of course I could have been coaching, or speaking, or a million other things. And lord knows my wife could hav been seeing patients in her office. But we took a timeout, and it was glorious. It is so easy to go, go, go and keep up with the Joneses, to do the extra camp or take on extra work, but we all need recovery time. Our athletes need to just shut it off once in a while, and what they miss in those few days off technically they more than make up for with a refreshed approach when they return. Muscles repair, and the mind resets. And coaches, it is critical to just step away when we are feeling exhausted and burned out, not just 50% away, but 100% away. We all returned a little rusty, but mentally refreshed.

Sadly, too many families never have any family time because of sports. They are running in five different directions, 7 nights a week, and family dinners and conversations can easily become a distant memory. We must, for the good of our family, say "enough once in a while." And make some memories outside of sports.

You do not have to travel to far off places to get some time away, but you do need to have the courage to step away, to shut off the outside world, and recharge. I know the Grand Canyon was an amazing escape for us, but it can also be a local camping spot, a weekend with family, or anything. Sometimes being committed to a sport can lead to us being committed if you know what I mean, unless we say "not this weekend. This weekend is for us."If the best athletes in the world can take some time off, so can you. Just plan ahead, be upfront and communicative with your teams, and then go. You will be glad you did. Bon voyage! 


ICYMI Blog: "Is Your Youth Sports Organization Transactional, or Transformational?" That is the million-dollar question most organizations fail to ask themselves. Back in 2017 I wrote a blog about taking your organization from transactional to transformational, and this last month I updated and republished that blog. I think it is very timely and I hope you will read it, share it, and leave some comments and thoughts so we can bring this critical conversation to the forefront of the youth sports environment. I, for one, am tired of transactional relationships. 


NEW PODCASTS: Since our last  email, we have published three podcasts. Wayne Goldsmith is a world renowned coach educator and Olympic and world champion sports performance coach and gave an incredible interview about how we get so many things in coaching education and athlete development wrong. Dre Baldwin is a former professional basketball player, author of 31 books and a master of helping people overcome fear and fulfill their dreams. And in our most recent podcast, I share three lessons I learned from podcast guests that completely changed the way I coach my teams and develop my athletes, with contributions from Kris Van Der Haegen, Mark Upton and Mark Bennett

BOOK A SPEAKER: We are now booking speaking engagements in Fall 2022 and Spring 2023. Since my last newsletter many spots have filled up, so act fast for Fall 2022. If you are looking for John or another member of our team to come and do some coach education, parent engagement workshops, or team building at your club or school, please email [email protected] and let's set up a call to discuss your needs. It is a great way to start or continue the process of taking your organization from transactional to transformational. 

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