Bayfield High School students, parents and teachers will get an expert guide to getting the most out of sports next week from a nationally recognized speaker and mentor to the pros.
Bayfield High School and Pagosa High School brought Greg Dale, a Duke University professor, to town to share strategies for success with adults and children in athletics. His goal is to encourage adults to have more conversations with children before, during and after competitions, and to help children find a new appreciation for the mental approach to sports.
“It’s something every parent should hear,” said Derrick Martin, assistant principal at BHS. “His message is, if you want a really enriching experience for your kids, here’s some tips and some ways to go about that.”
As a professor of sport psychology and sport ethics, Dale has written five books related to leadership, coaching, parenting and performance. Dale also consults with college and professional athletes and teams in addition to providing educational workshops.
“As parents, sometimes we lean too heavily on our own experiences that we had in athletics,” Martin said. “A lot of the research he’s done has been talking to young people about what they want out of their own sports experience.”
The speaking engagements will each have a specific focus depending on its audience. Interested community members can attend a presentation from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at BHS. Dale will also speak to students Thursday at PHS and Friday at BHS.
“Most parents will have their hearts in the right place, but when it comes to sports, sometimes we just need some help dealing with our kids before, during and after competition,” Dale said.
He will talk with parents about whether to encourage their children to specialize in one versus multiple sports. Parents, coaches and teachers can discuss the lessons they want children to learn through athletics, like teamwork and dealing with adversity. Dale will also explore tips and strategies to help children learn those lessons.
With students, it’s all about the mental game. Dale will help them be more systematic in how they handle the ups and downs of athletics, focusing on practice, confidence and dealing with pressure.
“They spend hours and hours training to physically perform, but sometimes their minds get in the way of allowing them to do that,” Dale said. “If they work on (the mental approach), and they try to start to implement it, it can make a difference.”