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I wanted to share and advise with you about a problem I have with all of my teams.
I'm finding it very difficult to find an incentive for them to go outside after trainings hours and practice alone, or with friends.
According to their parents, their entire free time goes out on online gaming, or just being on the smart phones talking with friends and they are barely going outdoor to play as we used to when we were young.
Do you face that as well? Did you mange to find any creative idea to make them go out and practice?
I dont think it is just a problem with children. There are the same problems at adult level as well.
However, that said, for kids the world is indeed different now. The problem is that the rise of technology has created, in affect, new worlds. When we were young if we wanted to interact with someone we physically had to leave the house. Aside from the land line there wasn't really any way to speak to anyone. Now, the whole world is at their fingertips. They have can have multiple conversations at once, video chats, play games all within a virtual environment with complete ease.
They can control these environments. They can get out of them whatever they want. It gives them immediate reward - whatever that sought reward is, be it winning an online game or being able to speak to someone.
Why should they go out?
They are doing all the things we used to do just from the comfort of their own home.
If we want them to get outside and practice then we need to make that more appealing than the bright lights of the iPad screen.
Do they just see the additional practice as just that? Practice. Do they see and understand the reward they get from it? Does it outweigh playing Fortnite on the computer and interacting with friends online?
Is there a way that you can try and make it appear to be something different to a practice? Can you embrace technology in someway? If they are going to be on social media, YouTube etc... anyway, can you build on that? Can you suggest them videos to watch? Can you get them commenting on them with each other through these platforms? Mental reps are just as important as physical reps in many cases.
Im not sure what sport you are coaching so it is hard to say exactly how this might be achieved.
Also, as this is in a 13-18 forum, are there constraints outside the kids? I have 2 kids and one of them is doing some form of sport, class or activity every night apart from a Thursday (and it is only a matter of time until that goes as well). They already have a lot in their lives and so trying to find time to do additional stuff can be hard.
It is a tricky thing to do and something that me and my colleagues tried to encourage for a long time, and we found that many coaches struggle with the same dilema.
In the end we decided that we shouldn't push it any more, those that wanted to practice and improve and get their extra hours in, those that had a psych and passion for sport, whatever that particular aspect of the sport was, held a long term prospective and would take our advice.
Those that had been signed up by parents, or who enjoyed the sessions in themselves, but not the sport as a whole etc. would spend their free time doing something else.
We as coaches can only facilitate and suggest, it is down to many other factors such as parents, friends, social and economic welfare and most importantly the individuals core beliefs and motivations which dictate what they do in their free time. However having said that, with careful and well measured coaching, on an individualistic level those core beliefs and motivations can be influenced by us if we put in the time, out of hours, ourselves.
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