When it comes to your child and sports: which will carry them further–talent or passion?
You might be tempted to think it’s talent, but an 11-year study led by Dr. Daniel Heller would argue otherwise. The study surveyed 450 elite musical students and found that, over time, passion trumps talent. It was the students’ passion for music that inspired greater risks and gave them the intrinsic motivation to persist in the face of adversity. At the end of the day, passions wins the day. (Whisper, by Mark Batterson)
Imagine the success your child can have if they have both talent and passion? That’s the magic formula for the champions who’ve gone far in their sport.
Here’s what every young athlete needs to understand about the connection between talent and passion:
Hard work and talent are siblings.
If your child has the passion, but not the skill, then hard work is the only path to success. Your child (and YOU) must let go of perfectionism and focus on the fact that to succeed, they must try and fail A LOT.
The bottom line is this: Your child won’t be great at their passion in the beginning, and most certainly not all the time, but that doesn’t mean that they will not eventually experience success.
What does this look like in sports? Let’s say your child loves baseball, but the talent is just not there….YET. The key is to allow your child opportunities to develop skills and continue to learn to love the game. If they keep working hard, their skill just may catch up to their passion.
I’ve seen it work the opposite too: Kids who are very talented, but do not have a good work ethic and who seem to not care as much about the game. My husband, who coached for 29 years, always said he’d rather have a team full of passionate players who needed skill development, than a team full of talent that lacked heart.
If your child has the passion, but not the talent, don’t give up on them just yet. Be sure they are in an environment where they are learning to love the game and are developing their skills.
Just because your child is talented, it doesn’t mean that they should pursue that sport. And just because your child is passionate and not as talented, doesn’t mean they should quit that sport.
If your child has passion, they can learn the skills. But if your child has talent and no desire to play, they cannot learn passion.
If your child has the talent, but not the passion, then perhaps it’s time to ask them what they really want to be doing. You might be surprised to hear their answer.
And for those of you who are struggling because your child is passionate, but not very talented, don’t give up just yet. That passion is what will keep them working hard and developing the skills that can someday become a real talent.
Is this talent/passion thing a struggle in your home? Is your child talented, but has no passion for their sport? Or are they passionate, but don’t have the skills? If you need help in moving forward, let’s talk. I’m a parenting coach and I’d love to give you a 15-minute call to see if parent coaching is right for you and to see if I can help you. Schedule your appointment here.