Feel Good Friday: Downhill Edition

A few weeks ago, this of a little girl learning to ride a bike got a lot of attention because she was hating every minute of it. Her father (seemingly innocently enough) tried to encourage her, but she wanted nothing more than to leave the bike out in the rain to rust. I'm the first to admit that I watched that video, chuckled at that video, and shared that video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziCnycJYgSg

Recently, Daniel Coyle (author of Lance Armstrong's War, The Secret Race, and The Talent Code) shared a video of another 4-year old, and contrasted not only the approach of the two riders, but of the two fathers. Note how the dad in this video is mostly quiet, and let's the kid control his own situation.

According to Coyle, "the larger point is, kids are smart. You can’t con them. To take on challenges they need to be in control. They need to be given the room and motivation to encounter the challenge honestly, and a parent’s role is to help create the conditions where that can happen — then to step back." Honestly, that sentence works just as well if you replace "parent" with "coach". I've come to realize that sometimes an athlete needs to be given some latitude in order to do what he/she wants. I can't tell an athlete what their goals should be, and while  there are times when an athlete needs to be removed from their comfort zone in order to excel, pushing them too hard in that direction - even with the best of intentions - can be counterproductive.

Anyway, I dare you to watch this video and not smile as you see and hear how much this kid is loving the ride - even when he wipes out.