These are some lessons learned from the recent U.S. Olympic Committee American Development Model (ADM) Summit held at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Alas, the summit was at the same time as the AVCA Convention in Minneapolis, but more than 200 sport leaders convened to share and collaborate on improving ADM. USA Volleyball leaders like Bill Doyle and Bob Baker from GEVA and Lorne Anderson from IVA were there (Bill and Lorne stayed at my home for additional fun discussions), and they made great contributions. Most Olympic sports were well represented, and others like USA Football, U.S. Lacrosse and USA Ultimate were also in attendance.

As so many resources are not known, I wanted to share first the poster that has been USAV’s ADM guideline for many years – it ties into what Brazil players often say – “my first coach was the game…”

I found several presentations to be of great value. The focus was on the 97 percent of kids who play but will not move on to a varsity team in college. The goal is keeping kids loving activity and being active for a lifetime, not just until they are cut from a team.

  • TrueSport, a partnership with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, presented its website information which all coaches in any sport can use.
  • Keeping parents informed is more important now than ever, including at the younger ages where the parents are the decision-makers more than the kid. Erin Smith of U.S. Lacrosse had a solid presentation called "Parents - Partners in the Process or Prohibitors of Progress?"
  • The need for multi-sport clubs and delayed specialization was a core topic.

USA Volleyball will also have about 20 posters that are currently being created with the USOC focusing on "5 Ways."  Examples include "5 ways to help your child develop character through sport" and "5 ways to help your child become physically literate." You will be able to post these to your club's website or hand out to parents to help both them and the players understand the process over the outcome, and the facts over the expectations and concerns. We want to train the whole child, not just as a volleyball player but as a leader, and so much more.

Hope your season is going great – on and off the court. Share ideas for retention and growing the game together anytime in the comments.

Finally, in the "apple does not fall far from the tree" department, if you have made it to this far, take time to click and check out a great blog on “Anxiety, Brains & Fear – Alex Honnold” by someone I respect and admire more than words can say.