Failure instead of a Mistake WHY?

Category: 2013
Published: Sunday, 03 February 2013
Failure has now replaced mistake.


 The very redefinition of the importance of the journey and the process inherent in that journey has made making a mistake a trigger point for a snap neurological reaction instead of a time for reflection and growth to be able to learn, assimilate, and grow from internal, not external forces or mistakes.


 “OH MY GOSH, WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO THINK OF ME” or “SCREW EM” now seems to the norm for a reaction instead of self reflection.


Lash out seems to be more common for a response if you are the mistake maker or the person watching the mistake happen. Rarely do you see a person laugh at their mistake. That would lead to more piling on so we have developed a defense mechanism.


True long term change comes from within as you analyze and make a decision on your future behavior.


If we got everything right we would be at a disadvantage to learn and grow. Immediacy and the corresponding high is looked at as a positive instead of the back lash reaction associated with thinking instantaneously (reacting), and I use that word loosely, that has long term ramifications for people. We see it in kids every day.


Watch people react to a mistake made by someone in a situation at work or at play. Do people react so that they can help that person in most situations that you see? Rarely!


Most of the time the reaction to the mistake is negative in nature. There seems to be a belief, or a feeling, that because someone else got something wrong it is better that it happened to them than if it happened to me.


Or in some strange way it validates the person criticizing the other person. They seem to take solace in the fact that someone is getting something wrong thus making that person feel superior.


 Are they trying to feel good about themselves by making someone else feel bad?


 You can see chronic tenseness every day when you are driving. People are so tense. And the newest “fad” not using directional signals when turning? How much effort does it take to make a short, push-down motion?


Watch when some hears a loud noise or is “spooked” by someone. The reaction is more of a release of pent-up tension that has been building up over time than it is to the actual event.


Why is that?


My next blog will answer that question.

Follow VJ @VJJStanley on twitter, frozen shorts on face book, email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or buy a copy of his book, Stop the Tsunami in Youth Sports in paperback or E reader from his website!


Category: 2013
Published: Sunday, 27 January 2013
“Come on, REALLY?”


            I had a very interesting conversation yesterday with a youth sports coach. And when I say interesting, as a very good friend of mine uses that word, like my wife uses the word “FINE,” when everything is not fine, it wasn’t interesting, it was downright sad.


            He is coaching a youth sports team, as usual the sport does not matter, No really it doesn’t! But I digress.


            He told me he had a problem with the way the league was set up. One middle school would get to choose from all the kids and then the other kids left after “cuts” would be distributed to the other teams.”He gets the best kids” my friend lamented. Really? Who is to say they are the best kids? They are 12 years old. The ability and growth pattern could change during a season, heck; it could change during a practice! I’ll tell you what, give me the kids you don’t want, give me three weeks and then let’s play.


             The main reason most kids get better quicker than others is because in the beginning of their athletic journey, they show some modicum of athletic talent superior to the other kids. ( As a good friend of mine said once,” They just suck less than the other kids.” Really, have you ever seen a 13 year old in the N.B.A., N.H.L., or M.L.B.? So all you are doing is giving the kids with a modicum of talent a head start, since puberty changes everything, and the male body doesn’t fully develop until the early to mid twenties.


I said just play them all equal and let’s see who gets better. His answer was telling. He said “We do play them equal, well, pretty close, within a couple of minutes each time we sub. So in a 32 minute game, if you substitute 4 times you can have some kids sit for a whole quarter. How much fun is that?


Then he said when we have a small bench because some kids don’t show, I play the better kids more. Why? He didn’t have an answer.  Sounds like another form of entitlement, the same entitlement that we all resent when we see it.


Do coaches really think that kids not showing up at practice and games are not directly related to their lack of playing time? How do you get better if you don’t play?


Look at the highest levels, in college and pros, practice are essential. But in youth sports, come on, really? Practice is way to get in shape, learn life skills, have fun, and hopefully develop some skills. But you MUST play in games to know how you are doing.


Then he started on the officials. Let me explain to you something about officials. The single most important factor in a referee getting good is experience. The more you yell at them, the more they want to quit. The more they quit the less experienced officials you get. See the pattern? You are actually creating the officials problem! Don’t talk to them. If your main objective is to have the kids play for fun then the officiating doesn’t matter. I coached 451 college hockey games and a referee did not decide the outcome of a single game, not one!

V.J. can be reached on twitter @VJJStanley, on face book at frozen shorts, by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Go to his website to read more and see videos. His new book Stop the Tsunami in Youth Sports is now on sale through his website in paperback and E Reader from.

Right or Wrong? Does it really matter?

Category: 2013
Published: Sunday, 20 January 2013
Here is what I perceive to be a major problem in society and youth sports. The lack of desire and it is not ability, of a person to see the other person’s point of view. But, what I am most fascinated about is how much it is culturally driven. The importance of being right versus the importance of community, working together, sharing who we are, and embracing the differences in others, has now taken over and dominated our politics, our friendships, families, and sports.


Because if we were all the same wouldn’t it be pretty boring? Isn’t it our abnormalities that make us normal? Do we really think that we will, at some point, get everything right? Do we think the children will get it right all the time? What are the consequences if they don't? There are none unless you make them up for your own ego. I love the fact that my wife is different. She sees things differently. My children teach me every day about how they see the world differently. And let me be clear, I am so far behind the times, I think I’m in front. But the value of that process has been lost. We now feel that we need to be right and consequentially, YOU need to be WRONG!


As a coach I often would tell the story of how I went to recruit one player and ended up liking another player just as much if not more. We would go into a game saying that either we were,or the other team was better on paper. But isn’t that the reason we play the games? Don’t we want to find out if our hypothesis or assumption is correct? And cant that only be done by embracing the value of the journey? You can’t know who won or lost in the first few minutes of most games you play or coach. It’s a process, a journey that needs to unfold and you learn from that process and journey. But if you only care about winning and losing you don’t get to see or learn from the many benefits a game has to offer.


Yes, you can say we play to win and winning defines the process, and it really is how we keep score, and therefore it is so important to win. But does it really? You can make an argument that we are actually trying to prove ourselves by being right. That is our goal. Winning proves that we are right. So if we continue to win we actually believe that makes us superior in some way. But in the end only one team wins the last game of the year. And what do you hear from the coach of the losing team? “We got to get better!” In that simple statement he encapsulates everything we are trying to teach at Frozen Shorts and the book I wrote called: Stop The tsunami in Youth Sports. The coach is saying we have improve, and since the game is over, the coach must wait, yes patience is important, and plan a journey along with his team to get better both physically and mentally. And at some point, it can be argued, this is when the light goes on, the coach realizes that the more fun his team has the better chance they have of reaching their goal.


But let’s look at this paradigm more closely. The more you win, the more you believe that your way is the right way and you should stay on that course. But what is not spoken about is how important it becomes to your STATUS to be right because of all the wrong that have been done to you. Somehow, winning all these games starts to elevate your belief that it is important, very important to be right instead of learning. The the stress express makes a stop at your station You start to tie your identity to a youth sports team or game. That's why it is so important that the kids PLAY FOR FUN and YOU help facilitate that process.


Think now, really think how good you feel when you are not right. The Christmas gift you did not expect, but was sensational. The person you ran into that you weren’t expecting to meet. The upset victory you achieved when everyone stopped caring about winning and just went out and played. Or the time you went to the movie theater and couldn’t get into the movie you wanted and saw another movie, instead, and it was fantastic. In each one of these cases you shared the story with someone or many someone’s around you and you, and all felt good about it. Think of the enjoyment you get out of seeing an upset. Remember how fun it was to make a new friend. Think of how important it was to you to share the good feeling you had about something with others so that they could feel that good also.




Or, since I believe if what we do at Frozen Shorts is long term beneficial for our children in youth sports and LIFE, that it can and is beneficial for them to have that joy modeled by adults as important, in all areas of their lives, This transfer of the value in the journey and playing for fun is a crucial part of our existence and being. Think how great it was when your child came home with a great big smile because they had done something at school they didn’t think they would do well at, and it came out great.


You see compared to the body the mind has way more room for growth and almost an endless capacity for ideas and change. The capacity to comprehend this paradigm and the desire to enjoy and embrace that journey of balance and community , and its value, have been slowly and surely handicapped and eroded by specialization and the immediacy and perceived value or status of getting things right, right now, and the constant pressure to do so!


Again I ask you to think about mistakes you have made in your life and how in the long run, most of them, unless they were catastrophic in nature, helped you to see things more clearly, or at the very least, be more tolerant of others, and the true real value of community.


Most team games are lost not won by one team making more mistakes than the other throughout the course of the game. During the game adjustments are made by both teams to correct the mistakes that have been made. You as a fan sit in front of your television and coach. Many parents sit on the sidelines of their children game and criticize the coach and or players for the mistakes that are made.


Don’t you like to hear a story about a player who worked hard and overcame adversity? Or how about the enjoyment it brings you to tell the story of the underdog who rose up from seemingly unbeatable odds to become a success and a role model for those around him. How many times have you been to a game and seen the bench player, and I use that word reluctantly, rise up and make a shot and the joy that envelopes for those teammate s and fans watching.

Vj has just authored a book called Stop The Tsunami in Youth Sports. It is available through his website You can follow him on twitter @VJJStanley, on face book artfrozenshorts, or email him for a speaking engagement or question at vj@frozenshorts,com

The paperback version is out!

Category: 2013
Published: Sunday, 13 January 2013
Stop the Tsunami in Youth Sports is Changing the Way We Approach Youth Sports


V.J. Stanley is an ex-college hockey and youth sports coach for over twenty years. He has written a book on youth sports called Stop the Tsunami in Youth Sports: Achieving Balanced Excellence and Health while Embracing the Value of Play for Fun.


In this book which came out in e-book form in  July of 2012, and paperback in January 2013, V.J. identifies the main problems facing children, parents, coaches, and organizations participating in youth sports today.


V.J.’s mantra of play for fun through balanced excellence offers basic fundamental solutions to the ever growing stress involved in participating in youth sports.


 The importance of equal play for all pre puberty children, and play by performance for athletes over thirteen years of age, is explained and compared to all life’s activities.

You can watch a video presentation on V.J.’s website (for all the kids who sit on the bench needlessly) and see the paradigm put into play.

Benching a player

Category: 2013
Published: Monday, 07 January 2013
Benching a player


I was recently called into to consult a couple of players on a team that were struggling. These boys are very good boys and their team was, for the most part, being successful. In one game, one of the players was benched by the coach and he was quite upset. He made a mistake and the coach berated him in front of the whole team. He went to the bench and sat down, disgusted.


After the game was over I stopped by to see this young man on his way to practice the next day. I did not want to talk to him right after the game as he was still upset.


My conversation with him was much different than he thought it was going to be. His first words to me were:” This sucks I hate this!” He was still obviously upset and felt badly about his benching, even though his team won the game.


 I gave him two different scenarios. Here is what I said to him. Let’s say that you got beat on a long pass completion. The coach yelled at you in front of the team and told you to go sit on the bench. He said “You can’t do that!”, 9 well obviously you can, and did, so subconsciously the coach is already starting off on the wrong foot with you as it pertains to trust. It may seem like a small simple thing, but it is not.


Now my solution to the problem would be to tell the player that, yes you got beat and I am putting another guy in your place. But that doesn’t mean it is permanent. (And yes, it is quite possible that I may yell at you) The after we both cooled down I said to you.” I notice every time that wide receiver points his outside front foot inward at the line of scrimmage he runs a slant. Why don’t you jump the route and go for the interception. If he beats you and gets a completion for a touchdown it’s on me. And when the play happens and you jump the route and get the interception, all I am going to do is wink at you, and not take any credit publicly for what you did.


Two reasons for that: First, when one of your buddies or teammates says your coach is a jerk for benching you, you will know better. You will know that I didn’t embarrass you in front of your teammates and I gave you another chance to make up for the mistake. If you did make up for the mistake I could be pretty certain that you were going to be  a loyal player and understand that learning from your mistakes was way more important to the journey than getting it right all the time.


Secondly, if your mind was clear and free from most negative stress, we have both increased the odds of you playing better, and getting better, because the more calm you are the better you will play.


You see it is not about winning. It is about the journey and the process. The mental side of youth sports and life are embraced and nurtured enough. The mind is almost endless in its ability to be creative, while the body has many limitations.


You can follow VJ on twitter @VJJStanley on face book at frozenshorts, on his website, and email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

His book Stop the Tsunami in Youth Sports is now available on Create Space and soon on Amazon in paperback form as well as an E reader through his website

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