Have you heard these common complaints about the current state of youth sports?
Youth sports are too competitive.
Youth sports are not fun anymore.
This generation of parents is ruining it for their kids.
Children are overscheduled and we are just making it worse by requiring so much of our athletes.
This narrative about youth sports is predominant in our culture. People talk all the time about parents being crazy and athletes being entitled.
I was about 20 years into my coaching career, struggling to balance homeschooling my three boys with running my youth sports organization, when I realized that I had become a victim of this youth sports rhetoric.
But, is any of it really true?
It doesn’t matter if the story we are telling ourselves is completely bogus. We will find “proof” everywhere that it is true.
One upset parent? There’s my proof.
One stressed out, overscheduled kid? There’s my proof.
Was this story really serving me or the athletes I work with? Was this story beneficial to my family? Was it true?
No, no, and no.
I decided to start telling myself a different story.
I decided that I would commit to creating an intentional culture in my organization.
I decided to add so much value to my program that no matter how many days a week of training I require out of my athletes the parents would say there is no better place for my child to be.
I committed to offering my athletes self-awareness and empowerment tools that will help them rise to their potential and grow into the next generation of fierce and compassionate leaders.
Through the ups and downs, this is the focus I now hold when making decisions for my teams.
And everything has changed.
My teams are more successful than ever. I enjoy incredible support from the parents in my organization. And my family is happier than ever.
I used to have severe anxiety and low self-esteem before I worked with Coach Ashleigh. I couldn’t look in a mirror without saying at least one bad thing about myself. I couldn’t love myself and it caused many rifts in very important relationships with friends and family, but what Ashleigh’s mental training taught me was how to love myself and accept myself the way I am.
Mental training has not only affected my performance as an athlete, but how I view myself and others. As someone who used to have low self-esteem, our team discussions were what turned my attitude around. Mental training sessions have not only helped me stop doubting myself, but also accomplish the things that physical strength itself, cannot overcome.
Ashleigh’s work was enlightening for me as a parent. I felt comfortable opening up and discussing my issues and parenting hurdles with other women who have had similar experiences, and were eager to offer advice and support. It was refreshing to be welcomed, respected, and validated. I will be attending Ashleigh’s future offerings, as I feel the discussions that we have in the group can only help me in becoming a better person and mother.
I am infinitely grateful that my daughter trains under the direction of Coach Ashleigh, an exceptional role model who provides tools empowering her to reach and exceed her goals. My daughter found the visualization techniques and calming exercises to be extremely valuable as they allowed her to center herself prior to competition. We look forward to another fulfilling season in which she continues to improve her skills by focusing on her physical and mental training with Coach Ashleigh!