Leaving them wanting more

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Written by JEFF MIELCAREK, Director of CYO Athletics   
Saturday, 23 October 2010 00:00
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It is often said we live in a “fast food society” where everyone wants instant results and instant gratification. Although it would be great if this really occurred, it’s usually not how things work out in “real” life.

When we minister to youth, we need to do it in a way in which we help them to understand that there is a “right” way and encourage them to continue working to improve themselves. We need to make sure that they are having fun while they are participating and, maybe most importantly, we need to “leave them wanting more.” This can be the hardest part of ministering to youth, but when adults who minister to youth accomplish this, they have hit a “home run.”

WEB_MUG_Jeff_MielcarekWhen kids go to practice, are they excited to be there until practice actually begins? Does their enthusiasm wane until practice has been competed? Do kids remain excited about practice and when the minister to youth (a.k.a. the coach) says “OK, that’s all for today,” are the kids disappointed? When the latter occurs, the minister to youth has “left them wanting more.”

I remember hearing a story about a CYO grade school cross country coach who had the runners run a dedicated path in the park each practice. As the season progressed one of the assistant coaches, who did not know near as much about coaching cross country as the head coach, took a huge risk.

The assistant could see that the kids were getting bored, not having much fun with practice and feared that they would stop showing up because the fun was no longer there. So the assistant pulled the head coach aside and suggested that for the next practice rather than running the same path, the head coach allow the kids to play a game of tag for the entire practice. The head coach laughed at the thought, but gave in and said he would give it a try.

During the next practice, the head coach saw his team of kids running, laughing, smiling and having as much fun as he had seen them have all season. He also realized that in the end the kids ran more playing tag than they would have by running the normal path. When practice was finished, groans could be heard from the kids similar to the groans heard on the playground at school when the bell sounds to signal that recess was over. The head coach realized that he “left them wanting more” and realized that it was time to readjust the way that he was ministering to these young runners at practice.

This is a great example of a couple of coaches who understood what it meant to minister to youth and “leave them wanting more.” Unfortunately, in many cases the kids quit having fun at practices before a youth coach understands a change needs to be made.

It is up to all of us who minister to youth to try to figure out how we can leave them wanting more before we lose the kids and their enthusiasm. This is more important than winning any game, trophy or championship.

Take a look at the youth on your teams and by simply observing them you will have a pretty good idea if they have had enough and are ready to move on or if they are “leaving wanting more.”

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 October 2010 00:00