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Working With Less Skilled Athletes In A Competitive Environment

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This resource stems from a question submitted to the Ask PCA blog. Responses come from our experts including PCA Trainers, who lead live group workshops for coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

"While I believe the parents goal of using baseball to teach this player the life lessons that sports can provide is commendable, I’m not sure putting him in what is self described as an environment of “playing to win” is fair to him (or the other players who clearly putting for the expected effort). Any advice is appreciated, as some coaches and parents have indicated concern that may cause some players and coaches not to return next year."

PCA Response by Joe Terrasi, PCA Lead Trainer

As a former special needs department director at a school, this question is near to my heart. Thank you for asking it.

There are a few separate components to this question, but the first I would like to address is what you described as “learning disabilities.” This is not necessarily a direct cause of his difficulty being motivated or putting forth great effort, but how it is handled can potentially have great positive or negative impact. The answer to this part of the question can be summed up in one word: collaborate. For children with different learning or behavioral needs, the best service we can provide is to work closely with their parents and education professionals (the child’s support team at school) to identify the needs, suggest possible positive interventions, monitor the success of those interventions, and adjust accordingly.

Download a printable version of this resource, including any additional commentary from PCA, by clicking the PDF below. To read more questions and answers like this, or to submit your own question to the Ask PCA blog, click here.

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