To better assist youth athletes in their growth and development, it is beneficial to have insight into their viewpoint. As a part of the assessment preceding a training seminar, I survey the youths who will be attending with questions that help me understand their perspective.

During my recent training in Katy, Texas with the Program 15 Baseball Development Program, I posed a question to a group of young men between the ages of 9-18. The athletes were asked, “What is most important to you?” They were asked to rank the following categories: Education, Family, Sports, Friendships, Hobbies and Faith. You never know what young minds are thinking and how peer pressure influences their choices, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect but hoped it was in line with what I thought it might be. Family was the Number One choice, Faith was Number 2, and Education ranked Number 3. This information provided some great insight into how these kids are being raised, where their values lie, and how much of an influence is driven by family, faith and education. It was pretty clear to me that as much as these young athletes want to achieve success in sports, they will not sacrifice what is most important. I admire these young men and their families – the sacrifice they make is a family sacrifice and you must have a strong base of faith to keep the balance of what transpires daily.

The road to success isn’t without challenges, but it is made manageable by FAITH and FAMILY and through constant and consistent EDUCATION! Parenting isn’t easy and sports parenting is even harder. There are many demands, challenges and influences that make it difficult and the impact of social media also plays a role. The ability of parents and coaches to provide the strength and foundation for our athletes is paramount for their growth and development both as athletes and as adults. We should encourage them to stay true to their values, search out those that know and understand for guidance, keep an open dialogue with the athlete and support them to follow their faith. These crucial building blocks set a strong foundation for future strength and success, even during times of adversity. I want to thank the young men involved with Program 15 for validating my thoughts on how we must work to improve the values and character of young men and women across the country. The end result for the world to see will be successful adults which are the product of the hard work and sacrifices made, beginning with dedication to FAMILY, FAITH and EDUCATION.