The 5 Phases of Player DevelopmentSports are a great avenue for children and youth to explore and grow in their physical, mental and social development. There have been several conversations circling around the difference between recreational sports and competitive. There is even some confusion about the difference. The competitive world of sports has advanced and the development of players who desire to Play College Athletics is starting at a younger age than it did ten years ago. If a player wants to play at the College Level or Professionally, the development is starting at a much younger age. Parents and families are INVESTED when Playing at the College or Professional Levels are the END GOAL.
When you have the END GOAL to play at an Elite level, you begin to make intentional decisions about training. You invest in going to events where you can gain highly competitive experience and gain exposure to scouts and recruiters.
The high level of confidence we see develop in the Elite phase comes with experience and repetition of the craft. Players at this level view it as a necessity to win.
There are some that play at a Competitive level and are very intentional about their technical and tactical training which includes film study. We see this level of development when players take initiative to get better and improve.
Players who have sparked a passion for the game they play will be willing to put in the time and effort it takes to develop physically and mentally. That passion is what draws them in to the Commitment to get to all practices, weight lifting and conditioning. In this phase, players are willing to sacrifice and forego other activities because their passion for the sport is attractive and they want to get better.
When players have not reached this level of commitment, they may just be interested in the sport. There is nothing wrong with be interested in a sport and playing recreational sports or intramural sports. This type of play is for those who truly enjoy just playing for fun. There is a great amount of interested players who truly enjoy playing but have no desire to get serious about competing at a high level. It is important to identify the difference between Interest and commitment, because it can cause frustrations for players, teammates and coaches when some parties are committed to development and others are not.
The beginning of the process can be at any age and typically players will find out pretty soon if they have an interest in learning more about the sport. Some take a liking to it almost immediately and some don't understand it, but in due time - seem to pick up interest in the sport. The Introduction of a sport can take any amount of time for players to learn the rules and basic skills necessary to play.
What phase of the development process are you in? Do you desire to reach the elite level of performance in your sport but lack commitment, passion or competitiveness? Perhaps training and repetition is the missing piece to you developing further. Research your sport, take initiative and ask your coach for more resources and help with growing. Your development is a process and it takes time, dedication and focus in a particular sport if you ever desire to BE ELITE.
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