Operant Conditioning

What do all of you think is the best way to influence a kid to participate in athletics? I say influence, not force because I respect free will and would never force my child to do anything they didn’t want to do.

I am learning in my new psychology class about operant conditioning among other things. Looking back on my childhood, I realize why my brother and I turned out the way we did. My parents are divorced, and whenever I would visit my father he would tell me to flex my muscle and he would tell me how much stronger I’ve gotten. He would throw the football with me and my brother. My dad and my uncle would always talk about how I would play football for Alabama. I didn’t exactly turn out a football player, but an athlete nonetheless. My brother, on the other hand, is a drummer in a band and no longer plays sports. He is a dedicated musician who works out a little on the side. He lifts weights but not too seriously and with no sprint training at all since quitting football 3 years ago he runs a 4.7 football 40. He has a very short temper. He is 17 years old 5"10 180 pounds and he bench presses 260. I am 5"11 and 3/4 195ish and run a 4.3 football 40 and bench 340 at 19 years old and also am of a volatile temperment. I think the reasons he didn’t stick with sports is because he was always disheartened by always comparing himself to me, which was unfair to him because I am 2 years older. I think he has/had just as much if not more potential than me. My sister played lacrosse/soccer when she was in high school. She was an aggressive beast. She now works for Apple. When she played powder puff football I watched her make 2 tackles and close line a girl… The were playing flag football. All of us were fast and strong compared to others our age. But I wonder if me and my siblings have natural ability or were psychologically influenced and conditioned by our parents actions. Any thoughts?

15 years with athletics,

get the kid to join to meet new kids the same age, make it fun not competative, who cares who wins it isn’t the olympics. theres always someone with a chip on their shoulder because they didn’t like the experiences when they were kids.

B.F. Skinner said reinforce whenever possible and only punish when necessary. Positive reinforcement works but all reinforcement/punishment has to take the premack principle into consideration (simply put it states that not everyone finds the same things motivating, reinforcing, or punishing) so you will always have to inividualize/specialize your focus.
Take great care in selecting the environment you place your kids or athletes in, whether its the facilities, coaching, or athletes they practice and compete with. You want them to benefit from a training environment that requires excellence (especially if you are hoping for it to benefit lifesyle and/work ethic). One of the many great things I can appreciate about Charlie is his focus on providing world class coaching, methods, and facilities (when available) for his athletes. They certainly benefit from that focus, even if sometimes the only thing that is world class is Charlie. World class, or elite, does not mean unsupportive.

So true.

This year my football team has been very hard to motivate. I’m going through all my info and the methods are working. Previous years have been much easier. Athletes and groups change over time, and I think changing your approach might have to be done.