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CSU alumnus shows joys of 'Perfect Season'

You've heard the old saw: "Winning isn't everything. It's the only thing." But that's not what kids think.

Better ways to win

Dan Clemens ('90, Speech Communication), author of 'A Perfect Season'"There’s a huge rift between kids who play their sport to have fun, learn, and be with friends and the priorities of coaches and parents bent on winning,” says Dan Clemens, youth coach and author of a recently released book, A Perfect Season: A Coach’s Journey to Learning, Competing and Having Fun.

“This discord means kids, parents and coaches are often trying to achieve different things and speaking different languages. That’s not fun for anyone.”

Clemens, who graduated from CSU in 1990 with a degree in Speech Communication, used 65 journal entries from a "perfect season" of coaching his 12-year-old son's team as a basis for the book. The entries show the joys, frustrations, mistakes, successes, and lessons learned along the way.

Focus on accomplishments

By age 15, nearly 80 percent of kids have quit sports because they’re not having fun, they’re not learning the game, and there’s too much emphasis on winning.

Instead, youth sports should focus on accomplishment. “When the kids on the team truly want to win and try to win, they’ll have a perfect season, no matter what their record is,” Clemens says.

“When parents and coaches remember why kids play, kids win.”

Clemens says coaches, parents and kids must be aligned on their priorities for the season.

“Successful teams set priorities around learning, competing and having fun,” Clemens says. “When kids are having fun, it’s easier for them to learn. Teams that have fun while learning about themselves and the game will find a way to be competitive. The key is to define what it means to have fun, learn and be competitive because they will be different for every team. Then, when everyone is on the same page, let those priorities guide your decisions during the season.”

A leadership and communications consultant, Clemens has been a youth coach for nine years and maintains a website for coaches.

Contact: Dan Clemens
Phone: (303) 378-0642