FIT4Success Athlete Development (Heart, Mind, & Soul)
Youth athletes function in a very competitive environment. They are bing exposed to competitive sports at younger and younger ages in many sports leagues. Most are provided with excellent skill development and training in the physical skills of their sport. Some get by on innate talent alone. Most are not being fully prepared to function successfully in the current sports environment.
The “Professional Model,” which prioritizes outcome and performance, permeates youth sports at all levels. In many cases it has totally replaced the “Developmental Model,” which focuses more on learning and developing skills needed to succeed in sport. Youth athletes are now pressured to choose a sport and focus on year round skill development. While skill development is vital to success, single sport specialization at a young age leads to many negative outcomes such as overuse injuries and burnout. How do we prevent this?
First, I recommend that youth athletes participate in multiple sports and activities avoiding specialization in one sport until at least high school. Research shows too many negative effects from early sport specialization. By high school, athletes tend to figure out on their own the sports in which they prefer and are most likely to succeed. If given the time and opportunity, most will figure it out without us adults getting in their way.
Next, in my experience, when we talk about athlete development, almost all of the focus is on physical skill development. While this will give youth athletes physical skills to succeed in sport, it leaves three important domains underdeveloped. Forgetting and not considering the development of the Heart, Mind, and Soul of the athlete along with the Body does not prepare them for success!
Succeeding in athletics and life requires more than physical skills. It requires mental, emotional, and spiritual skills. For this reason, Jim Brown Consulting developed the FIT4SUCCESS model that fully integrates all four domains; the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
The FIT4Success Program is designed based on my combined experience and research. The core philosophy of FIT4Success is based upon the belief that success is a never ending process. Your level of athletic performance is based upon four interdependent spheres of development or FITness:
- Your level of Physical FITness.
- Your level of Mental FITness.
- Your level of Emotional FITness.
- Your level of Spiritual FITness.