By TIM BUELER
Detroit Sports Observer
Every high school football season the media will typically report on at least one player who died on the gridiron. We will also hear a few accounts of a boy being paralyzed by this violent game, as well as the countless injuries and concussions to our young athletes.
With all these tragedies occurring, is high school football a liability? Should we allow our children to play such a high-risk sport? Would it not be better to stop playing football or any risky sport?
Conducting talk show interviews on this hot topic is Motivational Speaker and Washington Post best-selling author, Dr. Gregg Steinberg. Dr. Steinberg says, “While high school football does come with its risks, the benefits greatly outweigh the difficulties.
“Players learn so many life lessons from football and sport in general.
“They learn discipline, humility, racial tolerance and patience.”
During interviews, Dr. Steinberg, an associate professor of sport psychology at Austin Peay State University, has told radio and TV interviewers that “all these life lessons learned on the gridiron give athletes a competitive advantage in their future in the business world.”
In his book, “Flying Lessons: 122 strategies to equip your child to soar into life with confidence and competence,” (Thomas Nelson Publishers) Dr. Steinberg gives many tips and tools to parents about the benefits of sport.
“Flying Lessons” illustrates success stories of famous athletes as well as scientists and artists and applies those strategies to everyday problems. “Flying Lessons” is a tool box to help parents guide their children down the path of success.
We asked Dr. Steinberg a few questions. Let’s listen in:
Q. Why do you think a book like “Flying Lessons” is necessary?
A. In my consulting experiences, I have discovered that parents are stuck. They have very talented children but their children are not being successful. I saw that parents did not have the tools to help their children become successful. I wrote this book to give parents the needed tools to help their child succeed in life.
Q. Why does your book emphasize emotions whereas other books speak to mental toughness for success?
A. Emotions are the key to success. They guide the engine. Thinking is important but ultimately our emotions determine whether we will be successful.
Q. What is neglected most by parents when it comes to coaching for success?
A. Dealing with their children’s fears about failing. Once children overcome their fear of failing, the sky is the limit.
Q. Why do you think we see such a high dropout in youth sport today?
A. Parents are pushing their children with too many activities. There is not enough balance in their lives. Parents should focus on no more than three activities per every semester. Then, when the time is right, their children will gravitate toward their best activity.
Q. You are a sport psychologist, but the book is more than just sports. It is about achieving in academics and music as well. Why did you include those other areas?
A. I have always investigated the principles of performance. The principles that apply to success are the same for sport as they are for music as well as academics. I am explaining how to be successful in life, not just sports.
Q. What do you think is one of the biggest problems children face today with being successful?
A. They cannot focus. They have so many gadgets all going at once. They are practicing being distracted. So when they need to focus, they cannot.
Q. Which story do you think the readers will like best in your book?
A. My favorite story is how Paul McCartney wrote his famous song “Let it Be.” It came to him in a dream about his mother Mary, who gave him these words of wisdom when he was feeling down and depressed.
Q. Which is your favorite drill for parents?
A. My favorite drill involves teaching integrity to their children. You cut a straw in three parts and then tape it up. The straw will not work. I say that integrity is like that. You cannot have integrity in one aspect of your life and not in another. You must be a person of integrity in all parts of your life.