Coaching Is Developmental Science Not Rocket Science

Love how Dr. Kwame Brown, a developmental neuroscientist, frames it…

“Coaching is not ‘rocket science’ but it is ‘developmental science’.  It is also developmental experience, and developmental awareness, and developmental temperament.”

Same, Same But Different.

Finding a solution to your coaching problem is like a trip to the doctor — you need to convey your symptoms in vivid detail to get the proper diagnosis. Asking a coach who has only worked with professional athletes or college basketball players to give you solutions to your (youth sport) problems, is like asking a pediatrician – or worse, a brain surgeon – to do the work of an obstetrician. They’re both trained to work on people, but at completely different stages of an individual’s life cycle. Different specialities. Different needs…. Their intention is similar, yet the solutions can be dramatically different.

It’s a Small World After All

Kids are not miniature adults. A person’s capacity to think, move, and adapt vary significantly when an infant, toddler, pre-teen, and adolescent. And that’s just nature chiming in. When you factor in social / environmental / cultural context (e.g. nurture), it’s a whole new world (pun slightly intended!). Developmentally, how teens-on-down learn, communicate, emote, process vulnerability, stress, feelings, feedback, etc. is different than an adult. The developmental science is clear: young bodies and brains are different that their adult future selves.

Remember: Coaching Is Teaching

Your solutions and training environment need to be specific to the age and stage of athlete you’re working with. Not sure where to start? Well, start by aligning the needs of the team *plus* the development of the player *with* the dreams of the players. (Hint: The sporting dreams of a 12-year-old are a lot different than that of a 20-year-old.) /sef.


A photo posted by theLLaBB (@thellabb) on

#thankthepasser: If you’ve never been to ‘the hood’, swing by The Neighborhood Neuroscientist (aka. The Hood Neuro) where he “merges science, movement, art and activism to create more vibrant healthy communities.”