Fixing the Broken Youth Sports System. Matt Young has the Skills, Experience, Mindset, Passion, Team and Roadmap to Solve a Complex Problem.
Our young athletes are going through awful experiences and participation is declining faster than taking on water in a sinking boat. Let's explore solutions.
Good Sunday the 26th of July to you!
We have a very important topic to cover with you today. It is the topic of the state of our current youth sports system.
In short, we have a problem. A big one.
The experiences of our young athletes are awful and participation is declining faster than your son/daughter can say “I don’t want to go anymore.”
The Physical Movement is focused on solutions, so let’s jump in.
Matt Young brings over 25 years of collective impact and 25k hours of coaching experience to help rebuild quality sport in communities. He founded the fitness fantasy, healthy community challenge, 60 minutes kids club, and physical literacy for communities all focused on health and wellness engagement with public and private organizations.
Building this kind of track record is built on what works.
Not just theory, not just discussions but action.
Matt has developed and delivering a solution to a complex problem, that if remains unsolved, will implode in just a few years.
The clues are all around us. Our youth sports programs are broken.
In Canada, the youth sports industry is worth $8.7 Billion. The Canadian youth-sports economy in 2018 grew from $7.2 billion in 2017 and up from $1.6 billion in 2010, according to Winter Green Research (https://wintergreenresearch.com/) as recently as 2019. The research firm expects the business to continue to grow in Canada for at least the next five years. *
In the USA, the youth sports business hovers above $15 Billion**
The consequences of letting these programs erode are devastating.
There has never been a more important time for our youth to benefit from all the positives that can come from sports participation.
Currently, terrible experiences for athletes, coaches, officials, administrators and parents are more the norm than the exception.
Matt’s analysis is stunning:
In Canada alone, there are upwards of 15 tiers of sports governing bodies from the local, to regional, sport specific, provincial and national. All with a board of directors, all barely funded, not connected, not focused on grass roots development, only on high performance. All these groups thinking they are doing a great job, however, when 70% of youth are dropping out of participation, there is a serious problem.
This is not unique to Canada.
Yet there are thousands of motivated and passionate local leaders who want to make a change, yet when progress starts, they get stomped by the bureaucracy.
Sports lends itself to ego, power and prestige.
All the great things about sport, also have a down side of impeding progress as many in leadership positions are involved for the wrong reasons.
Matt Young grew up in a dysfunctional family from a dysfunctional small town in Ontario. Youth sports gave him an outlet to a better future. A Physical Education focused on inclusion and development, and challenged Matt to be the best he could. Matt used the motivation from that challenge, immersed himself in sport and was able carve out an education as a varsity athlete in university, with lesson of sports as his guide.
That led to personal training and fitness. An awakening around self-actualization focused on total development (not just physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual) as the cornerstone to providing unparalleled customer experiences.
This approach contributed to a very successful business around personal challenges and transformations, using this total developmental model that empowered their clients to achieve tremendous personal accomplishments while building community.
In Feb 2019, after 20 years and creating thousands of experiences and business success, while giving back to local community charities around kids health and wellness. Matt sold his business dedicate himself to solving major problem. The problem that created a new passion, one that had been brewing for some time.
A passion that was based on the experience with his 2 kids participating in the local sports programs about 10 years ago. The overall experience was terrible, the communication was awful, the priorities were messed up and left everyone involved disappointed.
After some research, his experience was not unusual.
The approach that Matt had developed over 20 years, was pivoted to create a solution to fix the youth sports programs that were dysfunctional from the top down. One of the keystones to the program, in addition to transformative coaching, is to provide a step by step guide for sports organizations to get to a better place.
When The Physical Movement recently sat down with Matt to find out more about his passion and his solution, it quickly becomes apparent that he has some special qualities that makes him the right person for the challenge:
1. He is super passionate about the cause. Health and wellness for our youth is not a new passion, this has been on his radar for years.
Here is TED Talk from 2015:
2. He is not driven by money, or ego and he is not beholden to anyone. Because of this, he is not shy to speak out about the problem and need for a solution. This will upset some, but it is essential for real change to happen.
Perhaps most importantly,
3. He has an ability, cultivated over his career, to take complex problems and provide simple step by step solutions (aka operations guide and framework). Unlike many, he has developed a solution and made it simple. (Simple, did not say easy).
“Too many orgs to tag trying to govern who gets the right to make a living on the exploration of problem solving... while offering no solutions making you... part of the problem.” Matt posted recently (July 23, 2020, and mentioned that in this same post ( https://twitter.com/mattyoung101) some of the discussions with organization stakeholders like this one:
Matt’s solution has been built on the foundation of a very strong operations system that guides regional leaders to execution. The Quality Sports Hub is the organization and it has branched into a couple of spin off groups, including the Quality Coaching Collective and the Community Revitalization Project.
“We help people, teams, & organizations achieve their best through a level of coaching mastery only experience can provide” says Matt.
Matt’s solution is no pie in the sky theory. It starts with an environmental scan of current level of enjoyment at different times of the participation cycle. This is the start of delivering a consumer centric experience.
This is the first step in a well mapped out execution plan to provide the framework for organizations to plug and play and start to fix longstanding problems. The HOW, if you will.
“For anything to be effective, it has to be profound in its simplicity” says Matt.
His years of making an impact in people’s lives has been built on solid foundation and operational framework and a leadership style that has proven to be very successful.
“We've been DOING what's now called 'transformational coaching' since 1997.
Not researching, summit-ing, talk-circuiting, infographic-ing. Actioning, teaching & DOING.
While millions were focused on the 20%, we honed the 100% of human development”.
That is very powerful.
Focus on 100% of human development.
Not just physical.
Or a portion of the physical, but also on the 80% that fills out the development pie.
How many youth organizations have an operating guide to support with 80% of development that is not physical?
And organizations are noticing this approach.
Soccer Canada, USA hockey, US Olympic Committee, Tennis BC, Softball BC, PGA of America, ViaSport(BC), Norwegian Olympic committee are just a few of the organizations that have engaged with Quality Sports Hub about implementation.
These are not small organizations.
Quality Sports Hub provides the mentorship and leadership that is missing from many of these sports organizations. They spend time onboarding and mentoring the action items to create a more rounded approach to building a successful program.
Organizational growth and success depends on fixing the eroding participation base and making youth sports sustainable for all stakeholders.
Having a recipe, that operations guide to escort stakeholders to a better journey is critical. We are talking a roadmap built on thousands of ours of experience in implementation and operational excellence.
A roadmap that supports athletes, parents, coaches, officials and administrators on the dots to connect in creating the youth and community program that will lead to a better developmental outcome via increased participation and positive experiences.
Many talk about education for all stakeholders, but few have it mapped out quite as well as the Quality Sports Hub.
There are certain criteria required in mapping out a solution to a complex problem.
Here are some examples:
o Assessment and market research that support initiatives to an outstanding customer experience. This may sound like its from a business manual, because it is. The customers are our athletes and parents. What do they want out of the experience? Are they getting it? That is the beginning.
o Tools for education for all stakeholder activity:
§ So athletes have a positive experience, and develop as individuals (see 5 C’s)
§ Coaches are given the tool to support total development, around the 5 C’s of competence, culture, connection, character and confidence
§ Coaches and administrators are given the tools around supporting their leadership.
§ Parents are guided on topics of nurturing a quality sport experience, including how to manage the car ride to and from the events, to being a good game day parent!
§ Officials are given more than a rule book, but guidelines around event management, conflict resolution, building rapport and all the soft skills that elevation their contribution.
This provides a taste of what is meant when we speak of a solution, or an operational manual to ensure quality sport experiences.
So that leads to the question: If all this is so strong, this guide is so good, why is this not adopted across the board?
Many organizational leaders are motivated to provide all the good that a youth sports organization can provide.
“At first, the main issue was awareness”, says Matt. “that and proactive thinking on fixing the problem. However, when groups like Soccer Canada come on board, the issue then becomes supporting the development within the organization.”
The good news, as mentioned earlier is that there are thousands of regional leaders who are currently volunteering their time because they believe in the benefits of a quality sports experience.