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College Scholarship Myth

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College Scholarship Myth

NPR published the commentary from John U. Bacon’s talk about College Scholarships. You should listen to it or read it: To Get a College Scholarship: Forget The Field, Hit The Books.

About ten years ago, a family friend invited me to dinner to talk to them and their freshman son about preparing for college soccer. Their main quest wash to navigate high school and club soccer in such a way as to best prepare their child for the ever elusive college scholarship.

With nearly twenty years of collegiate coaching experience, they assumed that I would be able to provide some valuable insight into the process. As we sat down to the dinner table, the first thing the dad shared was that they had been spending approximately $15,000 per year for the past few years on Joey’s (not his real name) soccer development. The first words out of my mouth were, “you should take that money and send Joey to a private school.” They laughed.

Dinner was fine, and I shared some philosophy and perspective on player development, which I believe mostly was disregarded, as it really wasn’t what they ‘wanted” to hear. They wanted a road map to a college scholarship. It doesn’t really exist.

The sad news about this particular story is that this same young man called me four years later in February looking for a job. You see, he enrolled in a university that did not even have a men’s varsity soccer team, and he failed out after one semester….academic probation! Maybe my advice wasn’t that far off after all.

Why is it that parents refuse to believe the statistics about success rates within youth sports? If I took 10 parents and asked them to stand up together, and then asked them if they thought that their child would quit sports by the age of 13, I bet that not one of them would raise their hand. Parents cannot believe that their child would ever quit.

The fact is, 7 out of those 10 will have a child quit. With 70% gone, we now have the remaining 30% go on to play in high school. Oh, by the way, those 70% are now relieved because they have just gotten their lives back…no more running around the country every weekend, schlepping the entire family to some random tournament.

Now, of those 30% who made it into high school sports, only 2% will get a college scholarship. It should be noted, that in most sports outside of football, most collegiate coaches are splitting up their scholarships so that more kids can get help. So, while your kid might get a scholarship, chance are it’s only paying a small percentage of their actual college costs.

Are you ready for some more hard facts? 33% of all collegiate athletes quit. Roughly 50% suffer from severe anxiety and/or depression, many of whom are seeking counseling or medication…..legal and illegal.

Isn’t it time that we ask ourselves just what we are doing? John U. Bacon has got it right. We need to send our kids outside to play. They need to figure out how to play on their own and create fun games. No coaches, no parents, no referees…..just kids figuring it out!

- Steve Locker

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What does quality coaching look like?

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What does quality coaching look like?

Steve Locker Speaks at the  Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS)  convention, November 4th, 2016.

Steve Locker Speaks at the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) convention, November 4th, 2016.

Steve Locker was recently invited to the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) convention to speak about coaching and its importance in the development of children in today’s schools. Continuing our theme, we will give those of you who didn’t have a chance to attend the convention last week some insight into the meaningful discussions regarding childhood development that occurred. Read our last post on what good coaches and teachers have in common, or continue below for a discussion of what quality coaching looks like.

What does quality coaching look like?

In many United States schools, athletics takes a close second to academics, but while teachers are required to complete multiple levels of intensive education and continued development, many coaches are merely volunteers recruited by athletic directors. Both teachers and coaches have an intimate relationship with student and athlete success and development, so how do we address this disparity in experience and preparation?

Good coaches share many traits of good teachers; they support growth of confidence, life skills, hard work, passionate involvement, and most of all, they support creating a culture of improvement and development. The culture a coach creates is a vital component of athletic success.

Athletes must be able to develop:

  • Risk Taking
  • Hard Work Habits
  • Abilities to overcome adversity

Kids must be allowed to take risks within the game and in practice, without fear of negative feedback. Without the chance to take risks and fail, they will not develop the skills to take those same risks and succeed. Further, kids should be rewarded for hard work and effort, encouraging passionate and personal involvement. Finally, kids should be provided with the tools and guidance to overcome adverse situations, whether that be a stronger team, negative situation, or classroom challenges.

Communication with the kids and other parties involved can address issues before they arise. Are your goals in alignment with your players? With the athletic department goals? With the parents? Communicating your expectations, from practice involvement to parental support (or lack thereof) will create an open environment that sets your kids up for a successful development culture.

Finally, is the game an educational opportunity? Or, just an opportunity to win? Respecting the game is an important consideration for coaching kids. Bending the rules, encouraging overly physical play, disrespecting officials, and weighting a win too heavily all hamper a coach’s ability to effectively develop healthy and successful players.

Quality coaching takes forethought and effort, but shares many of the skills and techniques a successful teacher will implement. It is our responsibility to create a culture where players can develop effectively.

Steve Locker pulls upon over 30 years of experience from collegiate coaching, professional playing, and children’s development to apply advanced soccer coaching, educational insight, and coaching education to organizations of any type. Steve can help your organization span the gap between coaching and teaching, or to develop a positive and age appropriate coaching environment.

- Steve Locker

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What Do Good Teachers and Good Coaches Have in Common?

ISACS Convention Recap - Part 1

I was recently invited to the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) convention to speak about coaching and its importance in the development of children in today’s schools. The next two posts of this series will give those of you who didn’t have a chance to attend the convention last week some insight into the meaningful discussions regarding childhood development that occurred. The first talk compares the traits necessary to be a good coach and a good teacher and the second gives you a window into what good coaching should look like.

The theme of the second day of the convention was preparing our children for the Innovation Era. An era where traditional college degrees and information gained is not as important as creative problem solving, entrepreneurship, the ability to work collaboratively and desire or passion necessary to solve today’s challenges (Tony Wagner: Preparing Kids for the Innovation Era).

Those of you that have been following my blog, success at Locker Soccer Academy and my speaking endeavors (Steve’s TEDx Talk: Youth Sports: The Fast Lane to Retirement) will notice a similarity in childhood development philosophies. They are both based on a solid foundation of FUN.

This foundation inspires children to develop an intrinsic passion which in turn will lead to the proper development of traits and skills, like the ability to overcome adversity or resilience. These skills are developed through overcoming failures and are motivated from within rather than from outside forces like those seen in a traditional educational system.

So what do good teachers and good coaches have in common? They create an environment that is conducive to FUN, positive, challenging, honest, caring and strives for excellence. These environments may differ depending on the sport or the age group of children a teacher or a coach is tasked with leading, but the children should take away things such as improved decision-making skills, confidence, empathy, curiosity, and persistence. Great teachers and coaches help empower kids through play, inspiring passion, and developing purpose. These are the environments and traits necessary for our children to discover their real interests, understand the value of depth of knowledge rather than breadth, develop real skills and be able to adapt those skills to any situation.

The Knowledge Economy has come and gone and the Innovation Era, whether we like it or not it is upon us. It is our duty as teachers, coaches and parents to prepare our children to succeed.

- Steve Locker

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Copa America 2016

copa america

USA! USA! USA! USA!

That is the chant that you have all heard from those "crazed" soccer fans during the FIFA World Cup every four years. Maybe you have even been one of them yourself? Well, the good thing is that if you have been that fan or have ever wondered what the hype was all about you don't have to wait another four years to support your team or your favorite player, because a soccer tournament of nearly the same magnitude is taking over the month of June.

One of the hardest things for coaches to instill in young players is passion for the game. Think back to how you discovered something you are passionate about in your life. Was it because of playing pick-up games in the yard next door? Was it because of a teacher or coach that was so enthusiastic about a subject or sport that it rubbed off on you? Was it watching an iconic moment unfold while cheering on your favorite team? Or was it watching your childhood hero pull off the impossible with seconds left to spare in the game? We all can probably relate to at least one or more of those moments.

As it turns out one of the most prolific soccer tournaments, Copa America, is set to kick-off June 3rd on U.S. soil for the first time ever. Copa America is the perfect event for excitement, drama and passion that usually only a World Cup can provide. Watching these types of events as a group is one of the easiest ways to show young kids why a sport is so magical. It also gives you the time to explain things like sportsmanship and teamwork in a real-time situation that isn't so personal. So grab your team, your kids and your family and be one of those "crazed" fans. Follow your favorite team(s) or player(s) through the tournament and help instill that passion for the game in a young player you know this month.

If that wasn't enough to get you interested even Kobe Bryant is going to be watching and in the video below he tells you why you should be as well. The full T.V. schedule for Copa America is below.

Copa America Schedule:(in Eastern Standard Time)

Fri., 6/3 USA vs. Columbia - Santa Clara, CA - 9:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Sat., 6/4 Costa Rica vs. Paraguay - Orlando, FL - 5:00 p.m. FOX
               Haiti vs. Peru - Seattle, WA - 7:30 p.m. FOX Sports 2
               Brazil vs. Ecuador - Pasadena, CA - 10:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Sun., 6/5 Jamaica vs. Venezuela - Chicago, IL - 5:00 p.m. FOX
                Mexico vs. Uruguay - Glendale, AZ - 8:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Mon., 6/6 Panama vs. Bolivia - Orlando, FL - 7:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1
                 Argentina vs. Chile - Santa Clara, CA - 10:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Tue., 6/7 USA vs. Costa Rica - Chicago, IL - 8:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1
                Colombia vs. Paraguay - Pasadena, CA - 10:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Wed., 6/8 Brazil vs. Haiti - Orlando, FL- 7:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1
                 Ecuador vs. Peru - Glendale, AZ - 10:00 p.m. FOX Sports 2

Thu., 6/9 Uruguay vs. Venezuela - Philadelphia, PA - 7:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1
                Mexico vs. Jamaica - Pasadena, CA - 10:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Fri., 6/10 Chile vs. Bolivia - Foxborough, MA - 7:00 p.m. FOX
                Argentina vs. Panama - Chicago, IL - 9:30 p.m. FOX

Sat., 6/11 USA vs. Paraguay - Philadelphia, PA - 7:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1
               Colombia vs. Costa Rica - Houston, TX - 9:00 p.m. FOX Sports 2

Sun., 6/12 Ecuador vs. Haiti - East Rutherford, NJ - 6:30 p.m. FOX Sports 2
                 Brazil vs. Peru - Foxborough, MA - 8:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Mon., 6/13 Mexico vs. Venezuela - Houston, TX - 8:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1
                  Uruguay vs. Jamaica - Santa Clara, CA - 10:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Tue., 6/14 Chile vs. Panama - Philadelphia, PA - 8:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1
                 Argentina vs. Bolivia - Seattle, WA - 10:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Thu., 6/16 Copa America 1A vs. 2B - Seattle, WA - 9:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Fri., 6/17 Copa America 1B vs. 2A - East Rutherford, NJ - 8:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Sat., 6/18 Copa America 1D vs. 2C - Foxborough, MA - 7:00 p.m. FX
                Copa America 1C vs. 2D - Santa Clara, CA - 10:00 p.m. FX

Tue., 6/21 Copa America W25 vs. W27 - Houston, TX - 9:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Wed., 6/22 Copa America W26 vs. W28 - Chicago, IL - 8:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Sat., 6/25 Copa America L29 vs. L30 - Glendale, AZ - 8:00 p.m. FX

Sun., 6/26 Copa America final East - Rutherford, NJ - 8:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1

Viva la Copa America Centenario

Chris Arndt
Director
Second Nature Sports

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The New Dimension in Youth Soccer: Navigating U.S. Soccer’s New Age Groupings

Age change.jpg

No one likes change, and this is a sizable change for the millions of soccer families in our country. The soon to be “old” system of determining age groups, where the calendar year began on August 1st, will now become “Birth Year” groupings with a January 1st start. All of this becomes a harsh reality in the next few weeks, and parents are scrambling with the question: where should my child play?

Terminology Lesson: It will no longer be called U8, or Under 8. The new term for this
age group is now 8 & Under. Get used to it.

There is one gender issue at play, and let me address it up front. Generally speaking, girls have a greater pull towards playing with friends than do boys. This factor will be one that many parents will grapple with when trying to decide where to place their child. I will talk about the “friend” card in more detail as I delve into this topic.

So your 9 year old has been playing with his team for three years, and now we are dealing with the fact that half the team was born in 2006 and the other half was born in 2007. (Those with 2006 birth dates will jump all the way to 11 & Under. Those with 2007 birth dates will play at 10 & Under.) Your child was born in June of 2007, but two of his best friends have 2006 birth dates. What to do?

Let me make one critically important fact very clear: The coach of your child is the single most important factor in all of this. Which club you play for, and which league you are in matter less. Your child MUST enjoy their coach, or they will be out of the game in no time. It doesn’t matter how many friends they have on their new team, they will make new friends quickly.

A good coach will make the experience fun and they will continue the developmental process for your child and progress them with their skills, their understanding of the game, and most importantly, the continued implementation of life’s most important lessons.

When considering an age group, especially playing “up” an age group, here are some considerations that you, as a parent, must be ready to deal with: (Please know that the more honestly that you make this assessment, the better the experience that your child will have.)

Speed: At what level will your child’s foot speed and speed of play (decision making) allow for the most success. If you over estimate your child’s ability, you are setting them up for failure.

Physicality: Like speed, this has to be the appropriate fit.

Emotional (& Psychological) Maturity: Given this stage of your child’s development, where will they find the most success and the best chance of developing into a team leader?

Ball Skills: Is your child’s mastery of controlling the ball in line with the older players that you may be considering having your child join?

The Friend Card: The longer that a team has been together, the more challenging it is to break up those friendships. Because high school players compete against many different age groups in high school, they are more likely to be successful at playing “up” in order to stay with friends. As we examine the younger age groups (8-14 years), I believe that it is more important to keep these children within their ages. There are always going to be exceptions, and as long as a child can meet with success when playing against older kids, then that child can be a reasonable candidate for playing “up”. Please keep this fact in mind: kids make friends in the time that it takes you to check out at the grocery store! They are more resilient than we think.

When we look at all of these factors in regards to our children, our ability to determine the best fit is critical. It will make the difference between your child meeting success or struggling with fitting in. In these formative years, the more success that they have, the longer that they will play.

Let’s keep our kids playing, keep the process positive, and support them in their journey to make new friends. Isn’t that what sports is all about anyway?

- Steve Locker

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Write a Blog

Write a blog. These aren’t words I have said in my head much, or maybe at all. What to write about, who would my audience be, what would I add to the conversation? I guess the question has always been why? And here, today, I answer with a why not?

About a month ago I made contact with Steve Locker through a Penn State connection. We sat down and so began our back and forth banter about the state of soccer, sports, and all that those two things encompass. That conversation turned into a bunch more and before I know it I’m introduced to Second Nature Sports and I’m on board.

I am a firm believer in the idea that you can never stop learning. I learn things every day and I aim to constantly put myself in environments that help me grow as a person. But before I dive head first into my beliefs, I’d like to share a bit about me.

A quick Google search and you can find mostly anything you need or want to know about my soccer playing and coaching career. But in an age where human connection is constantly on the back burner because of technology, I’ll ironically share via technology some things you won’t find through a Google search.

I was a very gifted soccer player from an early age. Mostly it just came natural to me, but I loved it. I had wonderful coaches as a youth player and didn’t even recognize this until later in my career. Once I made a commitment to invest more into MY OWN development my game took off to a level I wasn’t even aware existed. I constantly struggled with the idea of “fitting in” versus being myself, but was lucky enough to have a strong sense of confidence from within (a product I believe from my upbringing). Nothing made me happier than playing soccer. Well, maybe food… but that’s a whole other story.

I battled injuries, thankfully not too many major ones, but I have years of experience helping and encouraging teammates through some pretty physically demanding times. I’ve seen first hand what soccer demands on the human body and how with such early specialization players are “burning out” fast. I finally understood later in my career how nutrition, sleep, and recovery are paramount to success. And I can’t even dive into the psychology of it all without wanting to run out onto a field right now. I’ve had ups and downs and experienced a plethora of emotions tied to this beautiful game and through it all managed a pretty long career.

So in the end what does all this mean? A sense of perspective I hope. One that may help you in your coaching career or simply as a parent who wants to support their child play a sport they love.

- Christie Welsh


Christie Welsh's Bio:

Welsh is a former assistant coach at the University of Oregon from 2013-2015 and Saint Joseph’s University in 2012, while also holding volunteer assistant coaching positions at Penn State and The University of Wisconsin.

She was a member of the U.S. National Team from 2000 until 2008. Welsh scored 20 goals over 39 international contests. During her time with the USWNT she remarkably scored 10 goals faster than any other player in American soccer history. She served as an alternate for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and she was part of the 2004, 2006, and 2007 Olympic and World Cup training residencies.

In 2005, Welsh helped the U.S. National Team capture the Algarve Cup, scoring a team best five goals, including a massive game-winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Germany in the finals. She was also named the Golden Boot Award winner as the top scorer of the tournament.

Welsh was the first Penn State player to earn NSCAA All-America honors in each of her four years, while leading her squad to an impressive four-straight Big Ten titles and two Final Four appearances from 1999-2002. She was the first player in conference history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year three consecutive seasons. On the field, Welsh set the Big Ten's record for goals (82), assists (52) and points (216), with her career points mark still a current record. She was recognized as the top collegiate player receiving both the Hermann Trophy and M.A.C. Player of the Year honors.

Following her collegiate career, Welsh was drafted second overall in the 2003 WUSA Draft by the New York Power. In her first season she led her team in scoring and would go on to play internationally for KIF Orebro of Sweden's Top Division in 2004. In 2005 she brought her talents to Olympique Lyonnaise of the French First Division.

Additionally, she helped the Washington Freedom to the 2005 W-League championship, and the NJ Wildcats to the 2007 title, garnering MVP honors along the way. She also played in the Women's Professional Soccer League, competing for both the LA Sol and St. Louis Athletica in 2009 and the Washington Freedom in 2010.

She hails from Massapequa, N.Y. where she led Massapequa High School to the 1997 New York State Championship and earned Parade All-American honors twice. In 1998 she was named the Gatorade Circle of Champions National High School Girls' Soccer Player of the Year and ended her high school career named an NSCAA All-American.

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The World According To Trump: The NFL Has Turned Soft

NFL has turned soft

Sports and politics are two of the biggest topics in our media, not just at the moment, but on a daily basis. As a presidential hopeful, Donald Trump has made it a habit of saying things which seem to be aimed at getting people agitated. At the moment, his tactics seem to be working well for him.

While I believe that most Americans are looking for change and solid leadership, I’m not one who believes that Donald Trump possesses the compassion and ability to lead our nation. He seems good at stirring things up, but at the same time appears to lack the interpersonal skills and diplomacy to bring people together to work for the common good. Funny how once again sports mirror life.

In Trump’s latest rant, he compared the USA to the NFL, and said that both have turned soft. He referenced Dick Butkus and the old style of the NFL where players would use themselves as projectiles and throw themselves with reckless abandon into each other, sacrificing their bodies for the good of the game.

Oddly, it was just yesterday that the report from the Journal of the American Medical Association (Neurology) was released regarding the findings from the autopsy of Michael Keck. Keck was a 25 year old former football player who was forced to quit while in college because he suffered too many concussions. The researchers lamented that his was the worst case of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE that they had ever seen in such a young person.

The effects of his severe head injuries caught up with him in college, and got so bad that he suffered symptoms that most of us have no idea how to relate to. According to the report, He developed painful headaches, neck pain, and blurry vision. He was driven to distraction by a constant ringing in his ears. His sleep suffered, his mood darkened. He became anxious and irritable, then violent. After he quit football, his headaches were so bad that he couldn’t read and was incapable of finishing college. Because of his condition he was unable to work and this challenged his marriage in the worst of ways.

We sports fans adore our professional athletes to the point that they are of rock star status in our culture. They demand huge pay checks and lead seemingly glorious life styles. But what about the ones who have retired and suffer so much on a daily basis? Frontline reported on numbers from the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University, where researchers studied the brains of 165 people who played football at the high school, college, or professional level. They found evidence of CTE in 131 of them—79 percent. Of the brains studied, 91 of them belonged to former NFL players, and 87 of those 91 (96 percent) had signs of CTE.

Michael Keck was of the caliber that many thought would catapult him into the NFL. Unfortunately, all of his suffering was for naught, as he never made it to his payday. Concussions are gaining more and more awareness in sports, with the recent release of a movie about this problem in the NFL. A billion dollar settlement was just achieved to help pay retired players for their injuries related to concussions. Many argue that that is not enough.

For me, this problem hits a lot closer to home. Interestingly, as a collegiate soccer coach for nearly twenty years, I recall only one instance when one of my players suffered a concussion. One. In the past year alone, I coached two teams of young teenagers; one boys team and one girls team. Together, we saw six players suffer concussions. Six. One of those children was rushed to the hospital because she suffered convulsions and her parents thought that they might lose her. How scary do you think that might be if it were your child. Think about that for a minute. These players are playing on a team where the focus is on development, where they are encouraged to make good decisions, and they know that they are not looked upon to play recklessly. Yet, we still saw six players suffer concussions. Try as hard as you like, and you can still become a victim.

Too many of our youth sports teams are being pushed into more physical play at younger age ranges, and yet we parents think that youth sports are the answer to everything. When are we going to wake up and start supporting good decision making as parents? Something has to change.

When will sportsmanship once again become the main ingredient that we teach our kids? I am not sure what Donald Trump’s athletic experience looks like, but I can tell you that he has no clue about sports and how that relates to the political problems of our country. Once again he comes off as the Bull In The China Shop, spinning around out of control and hoping to shakes things up. His comments lack responsibility. I certainly wouldn’t want him coaching my child, and you can pretty much guess how I feel about him as a prospective world leader.

- Steve Locker

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The Road To TEDx (Final Chapter)

Photo courtesy of TedxColumbus

Photo courtesy of TedxColumbus

After months and months of planning and preparation, TEDx Columbus is now complete. Picking up where my last report on TEDx left off, I spent the final few days practicing my talk with a few groups. I want to thank the folks at Village Academy and the Wellington School for providing me the chance to present my talk, as well as all of the parents at Locker Soccer Academy who observed and provided valuable input. Thank you!

As I attended the main rehearsal at the Capital Theater on Thursday, it was an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with our surroundings for the main event on Friday. Having practiced my talk so many times, I was surprisingly relaxed. This was somewhat opposite many of the speakers who seemed to be frantically trying to make last minute preparations on their talks.

As I went on stage to present my talk to a handful of observers, I was feeling pretty comfortable. I got through about two-thirds of my talk, and inexplicably, I froze. I could not remember my place and spent the next two minutes, which seemed like hours, trying to figure out where I left off. While frustrated, I took this as a positive sign that I needed to just tighten up my talk. I spent that evening and the next morning going over my talk, and even writing out the beginning sections of each part of the talk.

As I drove to the Capital Theater on Friday morning, I had a healthy level of nervousness, a level that I believe kept me sharp. As all of the speakers gathered in the “green” room, you could cut the air with the tension. Everyone was nervous. Again, I felt ready.

When it was my turn to speak, I walked onto the stage, and with a bit of nervousness, I began my talk. Amazingly, with all of the lights, it was difficult to see the audience. I recognized my family sitting near the very front, and kept glancing towards them for reassurance. While I could not see their expressions, it was comforting to know that they were there.

My talk seemed to be well received, especially some of the funny anecdotes that helped to tell my story. The audience was very supportive and seemed to enjoy the message. With only one other talk after mine, we found ourselves very quickly in the first intermission. As we joined the audience in the lobby for refreshments, I quickly found my family and friends. When I told my wife that it was nice to have her in the front row, she responded by saying that they were actually seated several levels up. I knew the lights were bright and it was difficult to see the audience, but was shocked to learn that I wasn’t even looking at my family as I had thought.

I joined the audience for the remainder of the talks, and as usual, was completely blown away by the passion and delivery of all of the talks. It was an amazing day. With each passing talk, my level of relaxation grew. I could still feel the anxiety leaving my body into the next day, and as our family boarded a plane for Sedona, Arizona, I was reaching new levels of peace with each passing moment. The hikes we enjoyed the past few days have been great, and it’s wonderful to be returning to normal.

I can’t wait to see all of the talks on the TEDx Columbus website in the next few weeks. Ruth Milligan did an incredible job organizing the entire event.

I hope the conversations continue.

- Steve Locker

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TedxColumbus Live Stream

If you couldn't get tickets to 2015 TEDxColumbus Disruption don't worry! Grab your friends, your family, pull up a chair and watch me talk about the importance of patience in youth sports via live web stream. The live stream starts this Friday (11/20) at 1 PM ET and can be viewed on Stevelocker.com. Don't miss it and please share this link.

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The Road To TEDx (Part 3)

Whirlwind

Only four days until TEDx Columbus. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, with all of my time devoted to the talk. I think that I could give a two hour talk with 20 minutes of preparation. However, my thirteen minute talk has probably taken over sixty hours of work so far. Funny how that works!

There have been about 7-8 drafts, and one recorded talk went for more than 25 minutes. Too long. My subject (Patience in Youth Sports) has so much potential, but it also has so much material. The absolute biggest challenge has been determining which material to leave out. I love all of the discussion points and solutions, as well as the anecdotes. But TED is to be precise, tight, and to the point.

Amazingly, I have given about nine or ten practice talks so far. It’s incredible how much these practices have helped. The early practice talks were well received, but certainly very rough in their presentation. My audience, mostly parents at the academy, had great suggestions and ideas on ways to sharpen the talk. With each practice, I have gained in confidence and am very close to the final product.

A few days ago, I had my final coaching session with Ruth Milligan and Meagan Buren (also a speech coach) at Ruth’s office. It was the perfect atmosphere to present my talk and allow them to provide their expert feedback on where I was in the bigger picture. I felt very relaxed and comfortable, and the talk went well. Both Ruth and Meagan felt that I was very close to being ready to present my talk. Like an athlete gaining positive feedback from his coach, my level of confidence was increasing.

Their feedback was mostly in the form of tweaks that I should consider in hopes of presenting my points so that they are clearly understood. I have a few practices planned for Tuesday, one for Wednesday, and then our formal rehearsal is set for Thursday at the Capital Theater. As the momentum builds, I am so excited for Friday to arrive.

TEDx Columbus is sold out, so the energy will be amazing. Be sure to check the TEDx Columbus website later in the week for further information on how you can watch the talks. The list of speakers is fabulous and I can’t wait to hear everyone’s talk! Enjoy!

- Steve Locker

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