I recently sat down with a dean of a local university to chat. Our conversation turned to generational changes as it related to education. Interestingly, even though we were teaching kids at different age groups, we shared remarkably common viewpoints that applied to both younger and older kids. It really drove home the key takeaway we try to make at BALL: Emotional Intelligence matters. Coach Wooden got it right.
When I was at Babson getting my college teaching certification a few years back, we had long conversations about this very topic. Much has changed in the 30 years since I entered college. Grades are important, but with increased financial pressure on dual income families, single parent families, and an increasingly instant-gratification societal mindset, kids today have different stressors. Perhaps a growing percentage of parents are relying too much on outside resources to instill the emotional depth that is necessary for a child's proper emotional development. This is highlighted when the child eventually goes away to college.
As a result of this trend, many college administrators are searching for more ways to differentiate prospective
students. The "Big Thing" at upper tier universities these days is measuring Emotional Intelligence. Entrance interviews key on how well-rounded and socially-adjusted kids are. There are even Emotional Intelligence tests that are given to prospective students at these institutions. In some cases, these tests are weighted more heavily that SAT's!
It seems that youth athletics, if handled properly, is an excellent training ground for reinforcing and even developing, Emotional Intelligence. The key, however, is getting parents on board early and often, and engaging the youth at an early age. For BALL, this is the legacy we hope to leave.