Monday Talk: How to Be a Better Soccer Dad/Baseball Mom/Lacrosse Uncle
When Greg Dale speaks to groups — whether college athletes, high school coaches, or heavy-hitting executives at places like The World Bank or Pfizer — he talks about becoming a leader and the subtle, but important difference between motivation and inspiration.
“Do you motivate people or do you inspire people?” he asked at one conference. “Motivation is short-term and requires constant effort.”
Inspiration, on the other hand, gets people to buy into your vision. “People have to follow willingly,” he says.
Dale, a professor and the director of Sport Psychology and Leadership Programs for Duke University Athletics, will speak about navigating a positive path through sports for parents and their student-athletes at 7 p.m. Monday in Watt-Baker Gymnasium. Earlier, he will meet with coaches and speak to students during an assembly.
Dale says he got into sports psychology and mentoring coaches because he didn’t have a lot of positive coaching role models in his life. “I wanted to help coaches do things differently,” he says.
Here are a few of his thoughts.
“We’re motivated to pursue success or motivated to avoid failure. Which environment do you create? To avoid failure? I know, it’s hard. The thing is, (players) are going to reach more of their potential if they’re pursuing success more than they are avoiding failure. “
“In athletics we talk a lot about having a purpose every day. In fact, at some of the teams I work with, in the morning when the players are stretching and warming up, the coach asks them what their purpose is for that day. He tells them what he’s working on and wants to know the same, because in athletics there are no half measures. You are either getting better every day or getting worse as there is no such thing as coasting along, because if your competitors are working harder than you are, they are improving more than you. So always focus on improving.”
On the environment for success:
“When you have an environment where kids want to play for themselves, want to (play) for each other, but they also love playing for their coach, you have a great thing going.”
“Find that balance between pushing and supporting. Show up and encourage your kids and love on them whether they win or lose. That love and support has to be unconditional whether the kid plays great or not. It’s not about (the parents) anymore. It’s about their kid.”
Dale earned his undergraduate degree from Stephen F. Austin State University, his master’s degree from Columbia University, and his doctorate from the University of Tennessee. His books include “The Seven Secrets of Successful Coaches, “101 Teambuilding Activities,” “The Fulfilling Ride: A Parent’s Guide to Having a Successful Sport Experience,” and “It’s a Mental Thing: Five Keys to Improving Performance and Enjoying Sport.” His DVDs include “Promoting a Positive Athletic Experience: The Parent’s Guide,” “Develop Confident Athletes: A Coach’s Guide,” and “The Coach’s Guide to Dealing Effectively with Parents.”
If you want to make your child’s sports experience better for you and for them, head to Watt-Baker on Monday night.