Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Little Athletes, Big Leaders Book Review

“We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence then, is not an act but a habit.”
-- Aristotle

There is no question in my mind that I am one of the fortunate ones: Amazing wife, great kids, enough health to enjoy time outdoors, a stable job, and a home in a nice suburb. I truly do not want for anything. Still, there’s a part of me that is never satisfied, though it has nothing to do with material goods. I am well aware of my shortcomings as a husband, father, and friend. Definitely room for improvement there. I recently had the opportunity to read Bruce Beaton’s Little Athletes, Big Leaders: Effective Sport Parenting (Kentville, Canada: Bruce Benton Leadership Training, 2011) and it was a book that helped me plan a way to be better in all those facets of my life. Now, whether I follow through remains to be seen.

About the Author:

Bruce’s core belief is that the skills associated with leadership are the most important you will ever learn. As a leader, you must create a vision or goal you are passionate about, and if you develop the strategic and relationship skills necessary to leverage the engagement and productivity required to bring that dream into reality, you will succeed. Bruce is the coauthor of The Truth About Success, My Rules, Enduring Principles of Leadership and 38 Lessons Learned in Professional Football, and most recently, Little Athletes Big Leaders – Effective Sport Parenting.
The book delves into the following topics, among others:
  • Sport Leadership: Should we expect more?
  • Raising Leaders through Organized Sport: Is this programming important?
  • The Four Core Leadership Principles and how organized sport addresses them.
  • Positive Leadership Programming for Athletes: Are we getting it Right? What are we really teaching in the car?
  • The Most Important Leadership Minute in the Day for Sport Parents: Do we know what we’re doing?
  • The Magic Ratio: Don’t force your kid to “divorce” you later.
  • The 10,000 Hour “Rule”: Is this research relevant?
  • Long Time Perspective: If this is the single most important socioeconomic differentiator, why don’t we teach it to our kids?
  • Creating a “Growth” Mindset: This one small shift will change your child’s life forever.
  • The Daily Improvement Rule: The no stress route to greatness.
  • Skill Development is Brain Work: Why the Daily Improvement Rule works.
Leadership, work ethic, interpersonal communication, and goal setting are all transferable abilities and skills. They can be learned and developed in sport and easily transferred to any life application. According to Beaton, the sport world is the best and most likely place a child will develop these critical life skills. “Great results come from focusing on a consistent approach, not on the result itself.”

If you’re a parent, husband, son/daughter, or friend, this can be a useful book. While it’s aimed at parents, there are many lessons gleaned that I will try to apply to my own life.


(Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review on my blog. I did not pay for the item, receive payment for this review, or agree to give a positive review. Aside from information gleaned from the company website, the opinions are my own.)

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Interesting book. Funny, I grew up with next to zero sporting encouragement from my parents and then of course punk rock nailed the last nail in the coffin.

    Though I probably do a shit job at it, using sports to teach Ian life skills just happened naturally, despite my past. I should read this and get things dialed in.

  3. Sounds like a book to put on my reading list!


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