Peter Arch was part of the original British invasion of youth soccer in the 1980's. This influx of British soccer coaches changed the landscape of introducing millions of US children to soccer in a fun, kids first approach...with a little twist.
The British approach to teaching kids the fundamentals of soccer was perhaps unconventional from US standards at the time.
The understanding that attention span and athletic ability of children U2-U12 is drastically different and you need to teach an 8 year old different than coaching a 12 year old.
By coaching in small groups, adjusting the training space and providing full participation in short periods of time without a lot of standing along listening but rather doing is the magic ingredient.
Mix in a bit of Monty Python shtick and thats where the intersection of fun and youth development meet.
After 25+ years of building a national youth soccer summer camp business and the expansion into 14 regional offices, tournaments, European tours and a massive team uniform and merchandise business, Challenger Sports is now woven into the culture of youth soccer in the United States and millions of kids, families and certainly the explosion of youth soccer in the US are the result.
This is Peter Arch and Challenger Sports Story....
Here is a true or false exam...
What will happen if you take twelve college sports management students, give them seven days advance notice (Ok maybe five) provide them with a map, tell them they have to get to an event on their own in NYC and they absolutely have to be there exactly at 12:30pm on a Saturday, tell them the event is going to be chaotic so be flexible, attendees may not be nice and be willing to do whatever is asked, eat before you get there and remember to have fun because this is the sports business.
True or False...they all show up on time and do exactly what we asked them to do?
If you're thinking FALSE this generation doesn't want to work and has no drive...wrongo!
In fact they were waiting for me to arrive.
There is nothing more rewarding than being around young adults who are incredibly eager to learn and experience life and more importantly, follow direction.
I wanted to give them not only a unique opportunity to work an event for the NBA which they hopefully will be able to tell this story on an interview, but gain practical experience working in the sports industry. It's drastically different than being a fan.
Sitting in class listening to an old guy like me tell them what it was like in my day....zzzzzzzzz is never that intriguing, but to get in there and figure it out when it's loud, hot and chaotic. That is when the magic happens.
The proud moment of watching them jump right in, ask the right questions and take over is when I know they applied lessons they learned from the amazing sports management professors at the University of New Haven (That plug was for a free lunch).
Experiential learning, which is the core of the educational process at UNH, is vital to arming all students with the tools that will help them land their first job in the industry.
So if you answered TRUE... thank you. Young adults aren't all lazy or unmotivated. In fact they are incredibly aware of the world and opportunities more so than I ever was at their age. You might be confusing unmotivated with them being bored or uninterested.
They will continue to push us as educators, coaches and administrators to think bigger, become more aware of the ever changing way they communicate, learn and set goals.
Now if I could only figure out this GPS thing to drive out of NYC....
Leave a comment below and tell us your perspective on practical real life experience for college students.
Rob Thompson 25+ year sports and entertainment executive and current Associate Director of Athletic Development at The University of New Haven.
Think for a second when that moment you may have been the crazy parent at your kids game?
It happens to all of us...yes it has happened to you too.
You may not be the loud parent at your kids game screaming what typically is the obvious to everyone else in earshot...."Let's get a hit Tyler John".
No kidding dad, we all can't wait to watch 12 pitches and then a walk.
By the way... why do yuppie parents call their kids by their first and middle names in public?
Do they not know their friends will call them their nick name by the time they turn 12 for the rest of their lives?
Anyways so you may not be that parent, but at one point you will lose it.
It may be in the car ride home, or in that moment of questioning a teammates actual age or the decision the coach made to play the slow kid who can't run, throw or catch and who seems to be more interested in what is happening in the park lot.
We all experienced that blinding moment.
For most parents I believe there is a clarity and a sense or reality that our kids are average. So we tend to uncomfortably make a comment or two about our kids shortcomings.
It makes us seem like we get it in front of the other parents.
But times moves on and the talented kids will move up the food chain of youth to HS athletics. Things become more clearer at that moment.
Now the big leap is moving onto college. Tyler John is now known as TJ and he still can't run so now he becomes an "Academic" prospect.
Recently I had an dad call me about his son who was a "great" HS athlete but decided to go the prep school route to get his "game right" and his grades up.
Come to find out, he quit playing after a month to focus on his grades, still not sure how that works? But he wanted a second chance to play college ball as he was focused now.
So Prep School dad asked for a visit. Which of course I connected him to the HC to arrange for a visit along with the other incoming Freshman.
When Prep School kid arrived, he was obviously not in shape, in fact it looked like he never even touched a weight in his life.
After touring the campus, eating lunch, meeting the coaches and sitting through several meetings reviewing all the academic requirements to play at an NCAA school, the father comes up to me and asks...
"So can we sit down and discuss your scholarship package for my son"?
What do you say?
Well you tell dad what you wanted to say several years ago at that little league game..."He's not ready to play college ball and here are the reasons why".
You tell them the hard truth. No parent politics, not worried about hurting the kids feelings, no uncomfortable praising of a kid. Just give the parents the truth and suggestions on what they need to do with some options if this is what the kid wants to do.
Why can't youth coaches do this several years earlier?
Because it might be unfair to determine the future of a kid too early when they still have plenty of time to grow and mature athletically.
However, a fair and honest assessment earlier on can help manage parents expectations, if the parent is willing to listen.
A great tool for this type of early assessment is www.isport360.com.
This platform provides up to the minute coaches assessment, tracks player growth and provides suggestions for player skill improvements.
This tool is extremely helpful for youth all the way up to HS athletics.
Another useful tool for parents is www.lockerroomtalk.com. When you are evaluating colleges, this platform provides tremendous insight into what players have to say about their college coaches and athletic experiences at a school.
Managing expectations and real honest player assessments are so import to help young athletes develop and more importantly providing parents with a guide and feedback to set a clear path to realistic goals.
It certainly will make those 3 hour little league games more enjoyable and maybe Taylor John will hit a homer next and and if we are real lucky right into the windshield of dad's Audi.
I'm not sure there is a one size fits all model or example for what makes each of us happy. And let's face it the secret to life at the end of the day is about your personal happiness.
Your personal happiness does effect others around you.
Our own definition of happiness comes in different forms, from simple moments of time each day, to reflecting upon our life journey.
I believe happiness comes in the form of daily successes and those daily successes add up to overall satisfactions or our "Happiness".
Those successes take on many forms and for the most part are the results of our daily decisions.
Did I decide to call an old friend or colleague? Did I decide to help someone without them asking. Did I decide to address an issue that was bothering me? Did I decide to show up today and be positive?
Human nature, generally speaking pulls all of us in the direction of enjoyment, respect from others and being around positive, friendly people.
I recently heard one of the greatest examples of the "Secret To Life".
Scott O'Neil, a legend in the sports industry, during a recent interview said two profound things that resinated with me.
"You should be able to explain your life and job in three words. It shouldn't be any more complicated than three simple words".
His "Secret To Life" is very simple. Here it is...
"When your feet hit the ground in the morning, you should want to sprint to work. Excited about your day and what you do for a living. And...When your day is over, you should want to sprint home to be with your loved ones".
It's rather pure and simple.
Your happiness is the secret. Happiness in being truly fulfilled whatever your definition of personal fulfillment may be.
Perhaps it's financial freedom, respect at work, great friends, helping others, spiritual, a loving family. Or a combination of all of these.
It's not about how much money you make, rather how you make your money that defines you.
My secret to life is summed up in these three words. "Keep It Simple".
It's not the NFL or College Sports.
It's not about media rights deals, sold out stadiums and ungodly salaries.
I't not even about Saturday afternoons at the local dusty little league field with volunteer moms and dads slinging hot dogs and freeze pops.
It's now about why paying $30 to watch your 8 year old play soccer is only the beginning of the story.
It's also about the culture of "My kid is not missing out" and you can argue a big part is the parent brag factor on facebook.
The "My Kid is an Honor Student" pumper sticker has been replaced by the team photo in front of the ESPN's Sports Complex globe posted for all their friends, families and coworkers to see.
It's also about families investing in the "Experience".
Many of these mega sports facilities popping up across the nation are funded by private and in most cases public money.
Ten years ago it was about minor league or pro stadiums, today it's about family travel and tourism.
The projections of filled hotel rooms, restaurants, shops and amusement parks are now an investment into the community.
Today's mega youth sports facility services the community, helps small businesses and typically ensures that open spaces or depressed properties become a focal point of community pride.
The family investment in youth sports tournaments, elite programs, family sport-cations, equipment, uniforms, private coaching, digital media platforms, hotels, sports commissions, brand activation and overall access to mom and dad consumers are all feeding into a multi billion dollar youth sports industry.
There is no bottom in sight as the generation of parents grew up with this boom.
Long gone are the days of local recreational leagues, orange slices and stopping for an ice cream as a post game celebration.
Today it's about travel teams, weekend long tournaments, hotel rooms, flights, sports drinks, pop up tents, condo coolers, 7 uniforms, paid coaches, indoor training facilities, $50 dry fit shirts and $150 cleats...and that's just for the parents!
Youth sports are on a national and international elite stage.
Even those kids who aren't considered elite, parents are still willing to invest in travel. It's the new version of "Keeping Up With The Jones".
Regardless, most of our kids will never experience that next level in the upcoming 5-6 years and beyond. Honestly it doesn't matter.
So as a family to go through this experience together in what is such a small window of time is a great thing!
These kids are active, they learn how to compete within a team dynamic, they build friendships, they socialize without social media and build memories through late night swims, cold pizza and competing together.
Team travel is the ultimate bonding experience. It has replaced summer camp.
Why else will kids and families get to explore other areas of the country most of which we/they would never visit.
Besides, when would you ever get a chance to spend a weekend in Scranton? (No offense to those from Scranton, it's a nice area in the summer).
The Family "SportCation" segment of the sports/travel industry is real revenue, massive amount of participants and what is an endless supply of parents who are willing to invest in their kids youth sports experience.....Although maybe not every weekend in Scranton!
Leave me your comments below, tell us about your experience with youth sports travel and please share.
25+ Year global sports and media executive, investor and start up advisor.
Are you one of those people who writes down your daily goals when you wake up in the morning and recaps when you go to bed at night?
I actually love the concept and have done this a few times but seem to run out of goals each day. Maybe I'm just doing it wrong?
My Hypothetical Daily Goals...
I survived 25+ years in the sports and media industries and lived to tell my crazy stories.
That pretty much sums it up. Direct, honest and It also qualifies if I want to spend any part of my time with that person.
If they go "oh that's nice", I pull my phone out my pocket and pretend that I have an urgent call from one of my kids "Who BTW only text me". Really tragic that they only call their old man unless they need something.
However, or if they go, really what stories? They qualify.
Generally the conversation is very similar to they way I write these blogs, it's usually my POV based on real life experiences and sharing those successes and my failures but most of all my general day to day real life stuff that just happens to everyone in life and business.
Because stories of your kids are just boring to everyone, including your own extended family unless it's something they did that is stupid, I tend to stick with business.
Here is my go to...
Boy have I learned a lot about people from all those years but most of all I learned about the end user and that is you and me...the people that buy stuff and tell our friends about the stuff we just bought and how great that stuff is.
I also learned that relationships with people are more important than impressions and views. People expect bad service, bad attitudes and negativity. Is it so hard to be nice, follow up and help someone without looking for something in return?
Unless of course it's your kids looking for money...then you expect to get at least a Thank You!
Today I help businesses and brands figure out their digital voice and personalities and help them understand there is a massive difference in having having fans versus having followers. That's the science to social media.
I would love to learn more about your business, challenges and big visions and figure out if there is a way that I can help you...
Please leave a comment below, it gives me hope that people are actually reading my rants or even better share this post if you found it interesting.
By now you are probably tired of reading about and seeing the massive reaction and interest on POGO.
It certainly opened up everyones eyes to those in marketing, advertising, media, etc.
It has forced us to rethink consumer engagement and wonder "How can businesses monetize" this technology and ultimately figure out what is the overall appeal.
Ultimately what we all should be looking at is the mindset of the end user.
What is driving 7-25+ year olds to spend time chasing imaginary characters around neighborhoods?
General speaking the "Why" factory is obviously the generation of gamers.
Those that are embracing the culture of gamers are going to win.
Miami of Ohio video gaming is now a varsity sport.
The Pac-12 Conference is also embracing e-sports and supporting tournaments and games between schools.
ESPN has invested in the media rights to broadcast eGames.
Colleges are scrambling to create majors as the "industry" is estimated at a half of billion in revenue across events, prize money and revenue generated from twitch ad supporting viewing.
The naysayers inside and outside of the industry don't understand the appeal simply because they didn't grow up playing video games our was part of their entertainment with friends.
Same people also consider social media as silly.
Pro Soccer teams in Europe and NFL teams are now signing e-sport players to represent them in EA Sports tournaments.
POGO is clearly an indication that the culture is more than ready to embrace this form of entertainment and willing to spend time engaged in it as a participant.
In my POV POGO it sent the message home that this form of digital engagement is here to stay for a long time.
Now the technology is cool enough to get gamers out of their homes and into the streets in massive numbers is a game changer.
The verification that users not only embrace new forms of gaming be it hand held, participating or attending tournaments that take place in 20,000 seat arenas is here to stay.
It will only get bigger as technology is built around it with the software companies like Nintendo and ES Sports.
We will continue to see pro teams, leagues and colleges offering scholarships to not only players but the back end professors, administrators, programers, marketers, event operators and media companies scramble to recruit talent to this emerging industry.
So if you see this 49 year old running around the park this weekend with his kids chasing imaginary characters, don't be afraid to join in and I would appreciate help understanding what the heck is a Pikachu?
Please share and comment below your opinion and what you level you are on!
When we are no longer here, as sad as it is, Our Facebook posts are our time capsule and part of our legacy. Be careful what you post as it will be there for your family and friends to remind them of us FOREVER.
What may seem bothersome or troubling to you today, In a year from now it probably will not be a big deal. For all those "See I told You" or "There They Go Again" political or racial posts it will seem silly and honestly it's boring.
Share all the wonderful, positive and funny experiences and POV's in your life because that's what you want your friends and family to remember you by and what makes people positively respond to you today.
Blaming others and being the victim at work and in society is an excuse for lack of courage, hustle, self awareness and persistence.
You don't want to be remembered that way and perceived that way today.
We all have an obligation to each other to be successful in our life. That comes in many forms none of which is financial success.
That will come with our efforts, words and actions, but it all adds up to what we receive in return by what we give to others. Most of which is time.
50 years from now when this post will still be available for my kids and grandkids to read, I want them to see and read what defined me as a person...
Not as a has been jock or businessman but as someone that squeezed ever last minute out of living a fulfilling life that hopefully made in difference in my wife and kids lives, shared my adventures with others, mentored those that worked for me and hopefully made those around me lives a little more enjoyable.
We all have a story to tell and not all of it is pretty...tell yours the way you want the world to know the good you.
Rallybus.net a community mobility platform that offers pop-up mass transit to and from sporting events, concerts, and festivals, announced today a partnership with Major League Baseball.
The partnership is intended to make transportation to and from MLB games easy, comfortable and most importantly, fun for fans.
Available immediately, it’s easy to catch a Rally ride to the ballpark: just find the game through the Rally mobile app, website (rallybus.net) or when purchasing tickets online at MLB.com and the official Club website, choose a convenient Rally point (bus stop) for travel direct to the stadium, and then sit back and relax with a drink and family and friends!
Among the teams confirmed to participate include: Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets, Texas Rangers and Washington Nationals.
Partnering with MLB is a defining moment for Rally and the latest in a series of recent exciting announcements from the company.
Since its inception, riders have reserved 500,000 rides in over 1,400 cities to events and destinations across North America using the platform.
Rally has successfully crowd-powered community travel to and from a number of major events including the Kentucky Derby, Super Bowl, Daytona 500, Beyoncé, and the recent visit by the Pope. More recently,
“We’re thrilled to partner with Major League Baseball and are excited that they see the potential for their fans to really enjoy using our service,” says Numaan Akram, CEO of Rally.
“We are hopeful that with this launch we will be able to get more communities to baseball games and help them extend their fan experience beyond the game with an enjoyable travel experience.
"As we say here at Rally, Travel is better together.”
Rally was accepted into Techstars prestigious international Mobility accelerator.
For more information on how your group sales and marketing departments, music festival or convention can partner with RallyBus please visit: www.rallybus.net. or email email@example.com for more details.
Several years ago while working for a global corporation, I faced an unfortunate situation by using social media in my professional life that caused a crack in my reputation.
It was incredibly embarrassing to me professionally as I had pushed for our business unit and staff to be more aggressive in the space thinking that we needed to be using the platform more both personally and professionally.
At the time of the issue, I had recently read a New York Times Best Seller book on "Building Your Digital Brand".
The book was actually very education and basically outline why everyone and businesses needed to be using social media to gain attention.
I thought I understood the basics and focused on the immediate attention I assumed I needed, looking back now, I really didn't know how to tell stories properly within the context of business.
It quickly caused a crack in my reputation which I worked so hard to establish.
It's very uncomfortable even now for me to write this and be open about the situation.
Mostly because it was a big mistake and let's be honest no one wants to admit mistakes publicly.
But at this point in my life, I realize mistakes happen that will not ruin a career if you are willing to take responsibility, accept the consequences, learn from them and then leave it in your rear view mirror.
I'm still learning everyday.
I choose to tell my story for others to use as a learning tool and to know that you are not alone with this love / hate relationship with SM.
It certainly was a hard lesson to learn and ultimately motivated me to put time and energy into learning how to properly use social media effectually within the context of business and regain the momentum I had lost which lead me to ultimately reinvent myself and gain skills in areas I avoided.
Before you judge me, it wasn't inappropriate personally, it was a matter of sharing information on a business I had invested in as a personal safety net knowing the current business unit I fell under was being divested from the company.
However my timing and approach was wrong.
I lacked patience, communication and confidence.
So let me get into lessons I learned and ways to avoid those mistakes.
Why executives and business owners don't maximize social media:
I understand first hand all of the above but also know the massive benefits to learning the tools and putting great effort into creating and sharing content the proper way will help bring positive attention to them and their business.
How Important Is SM in how we communicate in 2016?
I was recently in a Panera Bread in a retirement community for a lunch meeting and after the meeting I stayed around to get some work done and use their WiFi.
I notice around me there were ten people (I counted) all senior folks 60+ having a coffee or probably just wanting to be out of their homes and around other people.
Out of the 10, nine of the people were staring at their cell phones, the 10th person was napping (Seriously).
Based on my personal Facebook feeds, I know my parents, aunts, uncles and connections within that demographic are fully engaged watching and commenting to what their kids, grandkids and friends are doing all day long.
Most don't post their own content but rather share, like or comment on others.
FB I'm sure is still intimidating to them but keeps them connected to their friends and families more so than ever before.
That connection is what keeps them engaged.
I know my Panera friends we doing the exact same thing that afternoon, except of course the sleeping guy.
Benefits To Properly Using All Social Media Tools:
So what are the solutions for executives, business owners or anyone who needs help in this space?
There are certainly benefits to each option depending on how you like to learn and time commitment.
There are a lot more books available now that cover both the why and how which are great on audio tape as well.
"Likable Social Business" by Dave Kerpen is one of my favorites.
Online courses offered on Udemy have plenty of classes which are user friendly, can be taken at your own pace and can be used as a refresher as many times as needed.
Subscribe once and the class is yours forever.
The last option is a a lot more inclusive and a greater investment, think of it as a personal assistance.
Only you know how much your time is worth.
This option can costs anywhere between $100 and $5,000 per month depending on the services or length of assistance you need but will change over time as you understand and become more comfortable using the apps yourself.
How Can A SM Coach Help?
It's just the beginning.
We are part of the cultural shift in how people communication, watch live events, consume the news, book travel, buy products, etc.
Some of you will remember what happened when the TV came to market in the 50's and people stopped listening to their shows on the radio.
Most of you will remember what happen to ABC, CBS and NBC when cable was installed in your house.
Look what happened to the radio industry?
Today look at what is happening to cable TV, newspapers, magazines, home phones and direct mail.
Think about your daily routines on how you find out scores, local news, weather, events, entertainment or the new restaurant in town?
Chances are it's not from a newspaper delivered to your door.
It's All About Attention!
Attention is in our pockets and hands of the 14 billion cell phones in the world.
An average of 4 hours a day is spent on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Texts, YouTube,
WhatsApp, taking selfies or creating stories on SnapChat.
80% of websites are explored on cell phones
85% of 25 year olds don't subscribe to cable TV
When was the last time you even took a call from a number you didn't recognize?
What I Learned
The valuable lessons I learned turned a very negative situation into a very positive skill set, which has massively grown my network, brought more attention to my business and ultimately resulted in new revenue streams.
Revenue actually wasn't the goal at the beginning of building my "Digital Brand".
Once I learned and applied my social media personality, after some time of putting out consistent daily content, new business (And Job) opportunities came to me naturally.
Why? Because I wasn't trying to sell anything, rather my goal was to help connect people, share content I liked, found interesting or funny.
By deciding to not shy away from social media, which took some time to catch my breadth and watch, rather I went all in with my chips to avoid repeating that issue and learn everything I could about this universe and what influencers were doing.
What You Can Do Today
We are living through the greatest moment in our lifetime to the shifting of media, communication and advertising consumption.
So I implore those hesitant to become a "chips all in users", which may be some of you to take small steps but at least start walking.
Embrace the ever changing social media landscape and enjoy all the incredible benefits it provides.
You should allocate time and resources to learn more, experiment, read books, take online classes, hire a SM coach to help fast track growing a following and master the art and science of SM.
The beautiful thing is you're followers will immediately let you know if you are providing them with valuable or interesting content.
But most of all, understand how to use SM properly and don't be afraid to use in an appropriate manner.
Find your SM personality and have enough self awareness and confidence to share your knowledge with the world.
Your rewards will be plenty with building relations, helping others, growing your network and ultimately learn how to stay out of the dog house!
I'm a 25+ year sports, media and entertainment executive and start up investor and advisor. I have published eBooks on practical tools; Utilizing Social Media For Your Business and The Global Business of Sports.
I am a guest speaker at college Sports and Media programs and assist brands, start ups, pro leagues, media groups, NBG's, Retail Chains with personal and business digital media strategy, social media management, unique activation concepts and event generating revenue.
Learn more about my background and how I can help you and your business at the above tab at SM Services.
Kindly share and comment below if you found this article helpful.
Today I met an amazing older southern lady at the airport waiting for our plane to board.
She must have been lonely because she jumps right into telling me her life story about her daughter and late husband of 50+ years, whom she adored.
She told me some hilarious stories and described what a true character he was ...everyone in their tiny home town in Virginia called him the "Mayor".
Although he wasn't really the mayor, He worked for the high school as the Maintenance man and as she said always carried "175 keys"!
She worked in the high school main office...both of them at the same school for 40 years. They started and retired on the same day together. Incredible...
The Mayor was the guy that got involved in everything and everyone knew him, she would say. He was the president of the little league, pop warner football (he didn't have any sons) and somehow found time to organize fundraisers, be a volunteer fireman and bartender at the VFW.
He was also proud Navy Vet.
They retired to Florida several years ago as he was very passionate about Golf, Cold Beer and BBQ and as she said sarcastically... "And not necessarily in that order"!
While in Florida at their retirement community he was a member of several clubs, president of most, organized several fundraising golf tournaments and of course the "Mayor" of their block parties. Which were plenty.
She did get a bit withdrawn at the end of her story and summed up everything about their marriage, relationship and the amazing outlook and life he led...
She explained the day they found out he had stage 4 cancer, on the golf cart ride home from the doctors he said to her incredibly just minutes after he was told he had very little time left to live...
"Honey it's been a great ride and journey with you, I couldn't Image another life. I know we never made a lot of money, but we worked hard, put our daughter through college and I hope we made a difference in a lot of peoples life's. I think we won the game...
So let's go celebrate that with some beer and ribs"!
She continued on to say she is not sure if she will ever get over him being gone, perhaps not?
However she says her nightly dreams and thoughts through the day are filled with funny things he would do or say and all the lifelong memories of her wonderful life with the mayor.
She says those memories gives her strengths knowing that he gave it his all everyday to make a difference with his family and their tiny Virginia community.
I am so glad I smiled and said hello to that wonderful lady today. She helped put a few things into perspective for me today by sharing her story....and I am happy to share it with you.
Have a wonderful weekend, be thankful for your life, make a difference and go enjoy some beer and ribs!
I don't have to look very far to see first hand how the shift in influencer marketing and content consumption is happening.
My very own focus group lives with me...we have a 24, 21, 18 and 7 year old (That's a story for another day) which gives me the perfect age range. Plus it's two boys and two girls.
Of course as a parent I am naturally curious about what they watch, listen to and post online, but being in the business it's equally intriguing to me to understand their media consumption habits and how their digital friends "Influencers" really direct their attention. Both the good and the bad stuff.
Here is what I have discovered.
Kids Are Creating Personal Media Empires
How Did This Happen?
Growing & Evolving By The Hour & Day
The influence that Youtube, SnapChat or musical.ly will have on my home focus group is massive.
Those brands that are nimble in the space, willing to take some risks and not bogged down by layers of approvals and politics will win.
If you're thinking this is a few years away you lost, think 3,6,12 months and what are you going to do today.
Now if I can only get my seven year old to play the guitar like Eddie Van Halen!
Thank you for reading and hopefully commenting below and sharing this post.
Rob is the author of "The Business of Sports" eBook guide to working in the sports industry and a 25+ senior executive with The Walt Disney Company, North American Sports Group and The NFL. I help global sports organizations, media groups, brands, leagues and teams create digital and live event revenue generating content and activation.
You can follow me on all SM platforms @RobThompsonLive
What I find interesting is that somehow recently "Not Everyone Getting An Award" seems to be the rallying cry of those which believe is the core reason to young athletes growing up to be an entitled millennial.
How did this happened?
Those that believe in this theory think that if we give everyone an award for just showing up and competing, regardless if they won or lost, why does that deserve a trophy?
"They need to accept failure as a child to be a more productive adult" screams the grouchy dad.
Let's take a look deeper into the why...
Sure there is also those that believe todays young professionals feel entitled to big salary's and titles without earning it.
Perhaps the fact that only 12 years ago when social media didn't really exist these same kids who were born at the right time in the history of the world with the digital revolution, they have seen that it is very possible that they too can become a millionaire at the age of 19.
And the fact that they know that, pisses a lot of experts off.
So is it the youth soccer coaches fault? Is it the parents fault?
Or just maybe it's the leagues and the tournament organizers that build in a trophy and free T-Shirt as an added value to sign up and register and gain attention to their sport or event!?
Does everyone deserve unlimited appetizers at TGIFriday's for just showing up and not earning those 75 free loaded potato skins?
Or just maybe its marketing and gaining attention to their restaurant chain and a youth soccer tournament?
It's really just business and not the evil empire in an attempt to soften up our kids.
Now let's talk about young professionals vs youth sports and what we as adults do to enable or staff and what youth coaches do to develop young athletes.
There is a correlation between the two.
If you have every operated a business, or have been in management and hired young professionals, it's easy to get caught up in the pedigree and look test.
Similar to youth and high school players are judged by what state they are from, what they look like in street clothes or uniforms.
I don't care who you are, we all judge people the same way on first impressions and make our assumptions.
What we don't know is what drives them internally. Do they have the "Want To Factor"?
Coaches talk about you can't see the size of their heart. Employers talk about high effort, hard working, non drama employees.
Don't we know talk about "Culture" and "Lifestyle" and offer extra's to keep employees happy. Staff bowling parties, extra days off, Monday lunches, bring your pets to work, etc, etc....
Aren't those awards for just showing up?
Now think about that kid that sat on the bench.
Who is not that athletic and seems like they just don't fit in. That could have been many of you or your kids.
Everyone needs some confidence be it the star, bench warmers or intern.
Whatever the reason, something compelled that kid to get up and show up for the game and play the season.
Be it they won the championship or lost every game, as little the award maybe if only for a brief moment, it may just be the confidence that child needed to play another sport, or register for another season.
As painful as Mondays are to work, perhaps that free lunch and that brief moment to bond with the boss and coworkers gives them the confidence to work a bit harder or feel more valued.
So let's go back to grouchy dad who thinks that every kid is entitled and doesn't deserve that trophy for just showing up.
He still like to compete and show his kids how its done .
Somehow on his last Turkey Trot 5K he finished 9899 out of the 10,000 but remarkably was so proud to show off his medal to his kids. Now lets go get some potato skins!
Good thing "Everyone Gets An Award".
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Rob Thompson-Owner Operator of 100+ grassroots events for youth, recreational and elite athletes. 20+ Years In Youth Development Programs, Family Entertainment and Media for the NFL, The Walt Disney Company and Arena Football League.
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"Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable" is what separates the star players from the haters and those negative nay-sayers in business. How many employees, coworkers, industry executives, people on SM that love to sit in the shadows and criticize or are just negative? Or better yet, don't know how to use or truly understand social media platforms. Just because your kids and junior level staff are on it doesn't mean you shouldn't be or at the very least understand consumer attention. Stop being a spectator and get in the GAME!
Understanding SM platforms and HOW they are consumed on a daily basis is 90% of the challenge. It's about understanding consumers attention. When you think about the 100+ million posts on Facebook each day that should be a pretty good key to it's value. Just because you are a 50+ year old CMO doesn't mean that you should rely upon the 20 year olds or your kids to help you understand SM. It's YOUR job to be engaged and understand the power and massive shift in the market of peoples attention. But you need to be a participant first. Understanding how real data and digital analytics such as clicks, likes, comments and shares are much more powerful than Neilson ratings assumptions based a percentage of DMA's. Who's taking those survey's anyways? Seniors and those that are unemployed? Last month 10 million customers canceled cable, so common sense I assume is how do TV ratings go up if consumers have shifted how they consume content?
Not many of us are really comfortable throwing our ideas and POV out to the world to judge us in social media like this platform. Heck I know my grammar and spelling is brutal, but what you are getting is an authentic me. How many times had you wished in a staff or client meeting that you spoke up but didn't in fear of saying something really stupid or off point? "I will reach out off line" What that heck is off line anyways?
Do you think Mark Cuban, Richard Branson and other highly successful executives and entrepreneurs have that same mentality? Yes they listen but aren't afraid to be heard, give their opinion or be in the game. I'm sure they weren't that way before they were Billionaires. They understood then and even more so now where consumers attention was in that particular moment. You have an expertise in what you do everyday or something you're passionate about, stay in that lane...but Get In The Game!
I grew up with dyslexia and never knew it until I got to college. I was a horrible student who struggled from day one. Fortunately, I had a college summer school teacher my freshman year and in a class I had to take just to be allowed into the fall semester. She discovered my dyslexia this first week of class and helped me work through my learning disability (How I was able to go through public schools for those early years and no one caught it is another story). Up to that point before college, I was always uncomfortable to raise my hand and petrified to speak up. I basically accepted the fact that I was a bad student.
The fear continued to suffocate me until I fought through it and became comfortable with how I delivered my opinion and that was through writing. I continue to do so today but have more confidence which I gained from just diving in and challenging myself everyday, but my platform changed. So you aren't alone if you have faced the same challenges, just fight through it and find the platform via video Vlog or writing but start somewhere that you feel comfortable with either here, Medium, Blog, twitter, FB, etc. But start today.
Even on this platform, I decided to stop being a spectator a few years ago with just reading and commenting on other's posts, I made a decision to become really uncomfortable and started my own website where I interview influencers in my industry (1 on 1 Interviews above tab) who I feel can help others with their personal stories. Believe me is not in my DNA to self promote. But what has happened as a result is my network has drastically increased my connections and followers quickly and it has massively grown my network and attention in my industry ...now I'm in the Game! And you should be too. It's not who you know...It's Who Knows You!
Get In The Game!
I hate to be the barer of bad news but if the coaches doesn't like your kid, 70% its because of you. The other 30% is because your kid doesn't listen. Unless your child can actually fly through the air over your house from the backyard to the front yard carrying the family dog, then they're really not that special or different.
The power of social media has replaced those car stickers that would let everyone who is driving behind you know that your kid is an honor student or goes to a college that people recognize has been replaced by facebook video's and pictures, which is awesome for family and friends, but no one else cares. Funny you never see a back window college sticker from the University of Phoenix?
I believe parents (I have four) is that living for those short term social media brag moments rather than celebrating what all the kids just accomplished, has brought out the worst in people and has caused more issues with parents and coaches because those "My kid is great" moments have to be video documented and not over exaggerated like the good old days.
At the end of the day, kids, coaches and parents know who are the best players are on their team and in their leagues. But you need to know that the coach equally loves those kids who are the better listeners, non complainers and those that tries super hard at every practice and in the game regardless if they have limited ability. They like your kid more if you are also a non complainer. Does it mean they will get more playing time? No but it also means the coach will spend more time helping them get the most out of their ability because they know the kid cares and that their parents supports them as a coach.
Here are a few ways that parents can help...
As simple as the above sounds and what should be common sense, somehow gets lost in the need to be self serving. Put your child's experience first and that tone is set with the parents, not the coaches. They really just want a Dunkin Donuts gift card after the season.
I am a 25+ year Sports and Media executive who also coached youth, high school and college football. I help national governing bodies, youth organizations, brands create revenue generating grassroots fan and player development programs. www.RobThompsonLive.com
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How many times have you started your day with thinking to yourself "How"?
So the question now becomes how much time and energy do I need to pick up the phone and call someone to confront the situation or write out an action plan to move an idea along or schedule a one on one to solve a "How".
As a business owner, leader or coach that is a daily challenge that keeps us up at night or forces us to rise early to sort out our hows. It needs to become something that perhaps you can never be comfortable with each day but has to be part of the grind that forces us all into embracing running a business or team.
How = anxiety but it's how we manage that anxiety with positive attitudes and confronting those how's that allows us to make progress each day.Mostly everything that causes that anxiety is based on people, which includes you. How you handle them, how you work around them, how you can help them will lead you to the solutions.
I spend a lot of time at our families home in Florida which is in a massive "Active" retirement community north of Orlando. I'm years from that point in my life and career to live there full time but I really enjoy my time meeting the folks that live and love the lifestyle. To them it's paradise and no one is in a rush. Everyday is a sunny Saturday to them. I see a group of people that won the game. They lived by a set of rules, made enough good decisions to get to the point of leaving the real grind behind and enjoying the final third of their lives. They had thousands of how moments to overcome. However, their world now revolves around the how's of politics, the stock market, whats for dinner, when's happy hour and doctor visits.
They still have the hows...How do I hold onto my money, how do I stay healthy, how do I get my grandkids to visit more. It's all relative, it's just the normal process of life. But mastering how you manage those anxiety is how we all can get to that point of being in a position to become one of the lucky ones to win the game too.
I am a Sports & Media Executive and Entrepreneur that has spent most of my career with building revenue generating lines of business for corporations such as the NFL and The Walt Disney Company. I have had many successes and failures along the way but have never stopped learning or helping others with their journeys.
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Find out more about my life and watch one on one webcasts with influencers in the sports industry at www.robthompsonlive.com. Also happy to connect and help you anyway I can, feel free to connect directly at; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perhaps we are similar to our parents in many ways but certainly not like our grandparents.
We seem to step into each new season not always with the anticipation of watching our kids grow, mature and experience a piece of their childhood.
When did we start to look for ways to criticize, complain, compare and try to convict the coaches if they display what we feel is not the best for our kids too quickly.
"Coach yelled awful things at the kids"... "He told my kid he couldn't play because he's not good enough right now or not trying hard enough or not paying attention".
What!? We can't believe what another adult told my kid! I need to say something...
Think about it, most of us tell our kids those very same things everyday at home and maybe we even swear in front of our kids too?
But we just don't want to hear a coach say that to OUR kids.
Have you ever said.. "Why are you always teasing your sister, you are driving us all crazy and you're not listening"... "You can't play Xbox or use your cell phone until you do your homework...the effort in school is just not good enough".
Coaches are just trying to get the most out of our kids at that moment, just like us at home. Please relax and let them coach and don't take it so personally.
Many of us had a youth and high school coaches who made an enormous impact in our life's and so will your children.
I hope as you read this you are thinking of that coach right now and I'm sure the characteristics and personality of that coach were similar for all of us.
They were probably brutally honest, tough, caring, and most likely said some hilarious things about you and your teammates that to this day you can recite every word of those classic one-liners and stories.
I'm sure if your parents heard what the coach said at the time it wouldn't be as funny to them.
Don't think too much about what you believe is an underlining message of what you heard your kids coach say...because I guarantee that is has a much different meaning to them.
So as I sit here and write this blog, I am thinking of the coach that had made the biggest impact on my life;
Coach Bert. In today's parent/coach holier than thou standards.
Burt most likely would be run out of most soft suburban, country club, entitlement communities today where lawsuits and getting coaches fired have become a hobby and a badge of honor for parents.
What does it prove anyways and what are we teaching our kids?
Back then and still today, Coach Bert was our guy.
I guess you could call him a throw back but he was a product of the 1960's in a very multi cultural blue collar town which was the same town I grew up in, so my teammates and I didn't know any other life or type of people.
Everyone was brutally honest.
Not only did coach Bert yell, push and pull us, he broke us down, built us up, he got everything he could from thousands of teenage knucklehead punks over his 30 plus years of coaching and teaching.
His style today would be deemed harsh, inappropriate, crude and maybe unprofessional but we loved it and him.
Not only would he smoke, swear, spit, scratch and scream...he told us amazing stories about life, former players and interesting people and places he had been.
Most of all he told us the truth about ourselves, the good and the bad. It didn't matter if we liked to hear it but we knew and accepted his truth.
Not sure what our parents thought of Coach Bert at the time but they didn't seem to care or try to run him out of town because all we talked about at dinner...was Coach Bert.
Most challenging moments in my life today, I take a piece of him with me knowing that everything in life is not always going to be easy and that WE DON'T get an award for just showing up!
As coach would love tell us..."If your mother doesn't like what I am telling you, tell her that I knew her since she was your age and believe me she wasn't an angel either"!
Please just let them coach.
The lessons that our kids learn today will be valuable lessons that will help them later in life.
Being a part of the team is as important as being the star of the team.
Understanding that not everyone is going to be the star and it's not your fault or the coaches that your kid isn't more talented.
But what a coach will do is get the most effort out of your kid.
Not everyone is going to get into the game and most of all they will not like every coach or teacher they have...our kids will carry these life lesson with them when they have bosses that they loath or love.
Do you want to quit your job because your boss said something to hurt your feelings?
Probably not and you get over it and move on.
Or maybe you do quit your job and maybe you pull your kid off the team today because of the same reason.
What is the ultimate impact...no one cares. So who are you really helping?
If we try to fight every battle for our kids now with lawsuits, board meetings and convictions, our kids will never learn to fight their own battles and more importantly figure out how to work with the tough coaches or their future bosses.
They have to figure that out on their own. Let them coach.
So as we gather this weekend as the "Arm Chair Army" and sit for a few hours judging and criticize coaches and the other parents this weekend in our Target Lounge Chairs with retractable roofs, drinking our $15 Starbucks Lattes and looking at our emails... let's put it all into perspective.
There are kids around the world the same age as our kids who are scared, homeless, helping to provide for their families without any hope of ever playing in a lacrosse game this weekend.
Be more thankful that there are still adults who really do care about making an impact in kids life's and try to be less cynical.
Please support the coach good or bad and enjoy the moment because your kid will thank THEM later.
Thanks Coach Bert!
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"You Throw Like A Girl"...you may have heard that phrase 25 years ago from the gym class jerk. However, today you may hear one of your daughters using that same jab on your son or one of her male teammates. Lots has changed in the world of participation sports. Thanks in part to Title IX, this is the generation of coed participation sports. Boys and girls growing up playing on the same little league and soccer teams.
A generational result of "Play Dates" has ramped up participation of the endurance events, road races, zombie runs, triathlons, etc. Basically events where teams of participants (Mostly Millennial's) train and compete together. It's where social media, businesses/personal relationships, entertainment and competition blend together within an exploding industry.
It has been proven that participation in youth sports results in future consumers of a sport, especially with females. One only has to look at number of females attending professional and college football, soccer and basketball. The numbers are about 50-50. What we see now is a true zest for programming where there is an equal playing field, this is a generation of athletic kids who are spending their entertainment dollars on not just booze, food, music and the going to the movies. They have grown up competing on the field together which now carries over to the office, into their one on one real and digital social space.
In today's world, you don't want to be that person in the office that throws like your mom!
I am a 25+ year Sports & Media executive and author of eBook "The Business of Sports". I help NGB's, Brands, Pro Leagues, Teams, Media Groups, College Conferences, Universities and Properties create and execute revenue generating events, programming, digital content, SM strategy and activation. Learn morewww.RobThompsonLive.com and follow my SM platforms @RobThompsonLive
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I started my first sports business at 24 years old not knowing any other way besides coaching to break into the sports industry. Not sure at the time if it was the best timing as I was newly married, expecting our first child, didn’t have any relevant experience, limited contacts and no funding… but I had a burning desire and a greater sense of purpose to help high school athletes further their playing careers in college.
This was all done before the internet and personal computers, so starting from scratch was an understatement. Our kitchen table was my office and our big dial house phone and US mail were my only sales tools. But what I built and sold was one of the very first high school sports recruiting services in the country.
During this crazy journey which started at that tiny apartment kitchen table, I was able to carve out a niche and follow a core purpose and passion for providing memorable experiences for athletes, families and fans. But what transpired between that humble yet exciting beginning and today was a massive cultural shift in global and amateur sports and how we participate, access, engage and invest in those “Experiences”.
The timing, relationships and understanding of the space put me on a path to work for some of the most powerful sports and entertainment companies in the world. Yet each stop on my career journey I seemed to be impatient on the next step. There were moments that were amazing and rewarding seeing ideas and concepts come together with clients and participants embracing the experience. There were also times that were frustrating and things didn’t always work out. That’s life and business…learn to enjoy the moments that are great and be thankful.
I have also learned the greatest asset from experience is patience and self awareness, which to me has become an incredibly powerful tool. Knowing what you are good at and what you stink at is important. You can think you “know it all” or fake it until you need execute. So with time you learn to hire or collaborate with those that know more than you or are just honestly better at executing a specific task.
You learn that situations and people change so having patience is critical on your career journey knowing that you really need to enjoy those great business partners, clients or bosses when you have them, and when you don’t you learn to play the game or change the game because it’s just that…A game!
So how can I help you on your journey? I advise National and International Governing Bodies, Pro Teams, Leagues, College Conferences, Universities, Youth Organizations, Brands, Properties and Media Groups by helping them create and execute revenue generating event platforms, unique activation ideas, practical social media strategies and grassroots fan/player development programs. I am always interested to learn more about your story, your big ideas, challenges, goals and explore ways that I can help…..even if it starts off at your kitchen table!
I am always looking for interesting people for my webcast interviews…send me a note if you would like to be a featured guest. Learn more about me, educational content and interviews at www.RobThompsonLive.comand please follow my SM platforms @robthompsonlive.