February 21st, 2020

Episode 14 - John O'Sullivan

Changing the Game

This week’s episode is with John O’Sullivan, coach and trainer of coaches.

John is the author of Changing the Game a book for parents to help them raise happy children who enjoy sports. He has also written Every Moment Matters –a book for sports coaches

He is an internationally renowned speaker for coaches, parents and youth sports organizations, and has spoken for TEDx the link for which is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXw0XGOVQvw

If you are a parent who has watched your child play sports from the sideline you may have seen children’s games morph from being occasions for fun and activity and camaraderie to something rather more intense as they get older. Parents yell advice or admonishments from the sidelines and children begin to hate the post-game debriefing. Children drop out of sports at an alarming rate and opportunities are lost not only to be active (and to regard one’s body as a functioning machine rather than just something to look at) but for the chance to learn about relationships, about dealing with jealousy and envy, about trying hard even if others around them are not, about being humble in victory and graceful in defeat and about commitment, unfairness and handling failure. So what happens? 

Listen to this episode with John O’Sullivan if you want to learn: 

  • About the huge benefits for children in playing sport, including the values that they take into the rest of their lives
  • About the distinction between ‘performance character’ and ‘moral character’ and how the latter is instilled in kids playing sport
  • What your role as a parent is in creating the right sports environment to develop the values that you want to see in your children
  • Why it is a myth that parents and coaches who want to develop high performers must focus on winning and what works better to bring out the best in young sportspeople
  • What message parents need to give their children to inspire and encourage them and how we can inadvertently give them the message that our love for them is conditional upon their performance
  • How to encourage your child to show up to compete
  • What factors cause young people to give up on sports
  • Where intrinsic motivation comes from
  • How growth mindset thinking applies to sports and how parents and coaches can develop growth mindsets in children. (To see how descriptive praise works to encourage a growth mindset see our positive parenting course or our online programme module one)
  • About the 7 c’s –common sense, conditions, communication, control, competence, confidence and caring and how they work together to develop high performing mindsets
  • How (and when) parents can communicate well about how the child feels about their experience of sport
  • When, where and how to ‘push’ children. John refers to Dr Jim Taylor’s book Positive Pushing

In our celebration of vulnerability and perfect imperfection John shares with us a Low Parenting Moment of his own and how he repaired the situation which enabled his son to learn something useful. 

And John also shares his top tip for raising children to be confident, happy and successful.  This is something that everyone listening can put into practice straightaway, whether your kids are into sport or not. 


To get in touch with John:







Posted in: Benefits of Sport , Competition , Sport coaching




     1 2 3 4 5     

Quick links

The Parent Practice GuideJoin Us Now!

Be kept informed about events, offers and top tips for parents. And get a FREE parenting guide.

Join Now


68 Thurleigh Road
London SW12 8UD

Phone: 0208 673 3444

Email: team@theparentpractice.com