Skip to main content

"The solution to falling numbers playing competitive sports is to change coaching."

The Irish Examiner did an extensive piece on Wayne Goldsmith, who has worked with some of the top sports teams in the world, including the All Black and the US Swimming team among a host of others. But his real passion is finding ways to drive sports participation back up, and to educate coaches on how to do that.

In the article, he specifically mentions Fortnite, the video game that has taken the world by storm and captivated the hearts and minds of the youth today.

In coaching circles, regardless of specific sport, one of the most popular memes that always seems to get shared again and again is this one:

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 12.04.33 PM

The article pegs games like Fornite as the clear enemy.

But the article from the Irish Examiner essentially forces the reader to think; What if Fortnite isn't the real issue, and the refusal by coaches to adapt is?

“The experience we’re giving kids is generally out of touch with what they want. The default setting of the majority of coaches around the world still is to be predominantly physically-based and repetition-based, telling kids to do laps and yell times. That’s not coaching, connecting, inspiring," Goldsmith shared.

“My strong belief is that the solution to turning around the falling numbers playing competitive sport is to change coaching. To make it more relationship-based and experience-based.”

After talking with a coach in the US, who was complaining about the appeal that kids have with Fortnite, Goldsmith flipped the script and implored the coach to find a coaching strategy that mimic'd Fortnite's engagement and other factors that appealed to today's generation.

“I said, ‘Well, maybe you’ve to come up with some form of Fortnite yourself. A way of coaching that is engaging, inspiring, allowing them to connect with others.’ If you’re waiting for kids to change and go back to the way things used to be, you’re deluded."

"Life doesn’t go backwards. And the issue isn’t that kids have changed. They haven’t. The problem is we haven’t changed. We’ve to come up with ways to find it interesting and exciting for them to want to work hard and get better at sport."

Maybe, just maybe, Fortnite isn't the issue after all...

Head here to read the full article, including some more interesting angles and stories on the topic of adaptive coaching.