Couldn't agree more with this morning's post by Allistair McCaw. How often to our country's top 10-14 year olds fade as they get taken over by their hungrier 'back in the pack' peers who have been playing tennis alongside at least 2 other sports.
The tipping point in young athletes:
In my experience with kids who've been playing a sport competitively, it's at the ages 13-15yrs of age, where you usually can best tell if they actually really love it or not. If it was their choice and dream, or that of their parents. In many cases, up until this point, they've been doing it more to please the parents and because they were good at a young age. At these ages, you also begin to notice if they've developed athleticism through other sports and skills. If they've developed grit and resilience, a growth or a fixed mindset. It's also at these ages where you see the most dropouts occur due to burnout and a lack of passion for the game.
The athletes who go on to better things, are the ones who were intrinsically motivated and nurtured in a way to love the game more and more, year by year. Nurtured by the right coaches & parents who rewarded behaviors, discipline, work ethic and effort, and not outcomes. They were encouraged and motivated by fun, and taught how to embrace success and failure at an early age.
- Allistair McCaw