Road to Ted 2

Nineteen days until TEDxColumbus, and things are definitely heating up. I had my second coaching session with Ruth a few days ago, with the final coaching session scheduled for November 12th.

Here’s the bottom line: The talk should be in its’ final form right now. The next few weeks are critical for refining and fine tuning the talk. Our coaching session last Thursday was really helpful, as Ruth was able to help me focus on exactly what I need to do at this point. At the time of our second coaching session, I had narrowed down my theme and had outlined the scope of the talk. The past few days have been spent putting shape into the talk, and I feel very close to having a product that I can begin to fine tune.

With over 30 years of coaching experience to draw from, we (Ruth & I) feel it is critically important to highlight my experiences and observations and illustrate how they support my hypothesis. With the title of the talk decided, “Youth Sports: The Fast Lane To Retirement”, I can share a few details, but I certainly don’t want to give too much away at this point.

Through my work, I have seen how a patient approach to working with children allows them to have an infinitely better experience in sports. Our current system defines success by wins and losses, and that is wrong on every level when applied to youth sports. Sure, we all want our kids to be successful, but what does that mean? For me, I want the children in my program to first love being active and healthy. I want them to be good sports. These kind of qualities are not things that you teach in one training session. They require years of consistent work with constant reminders about caring, fairness, work ethic, responsibility, and so on. Most of us know that anything that is truly valuable requires hard work and cannot be attained easily.

I could teach a child how to kick a soccer ball in one training session. I could teach a child where to run in a particular part of the field in one training session. But to put a child into an environment which allows for him/her to develop a keen sense of self, an ability to handle adversity, a willingness to take risks, and the skill of making good decisions.....these attributes take years of hard work. This is where I am going!

I will begin recording my talk in the next couple of days and get that to Ruth right away. I look forward to her input and direction once she has a chance to examine it. I have several practice talks planned over the next couple of weeks, and combined with my planned repetitions, I am excited to progress towards November 20th.

As I was driving in my car this morning, I was thinking how well my own athletic career has prepared me for this opportunity. As a coach, there was always a sense of nervousness about an upcoming, important contest. I was always able to relax in the face of this trepidation because I knew that I had prepared well. I had put myself and my players into so many situations where they were forced to make hundreds and thousands of decisions just like in the game. While the nervousness is present, the excitement is overwhelming. I can’t wait.

- Steve Locker