Daniel Coyle referred to the concept of ignition in his book ‘The Talent Code’. I read this book several years ago and it resonated with me then and recently it had me thinking about how this develops with young people. Ignition is that point in an athlete’s or student’s life when ‘something’ lights the fire within them to follow a dream or passion with intent and pursue the interest with curiosity. I remember 5 key ignition points in my life specific to different phases of my development through sport, education and work.
From personal experience coaching, teaching and now as a parent, I think ignition happens exactly as Coyle describes; through a serendipitous moment. The young person sees something that instantly draws their interest and in that split second, I think they see themselves as the performer. This is probably the most important aspect of what drives the pursuit to learn more or seek improvement. If they see what they could become, then the fire it lit.
Providing opportunities for young athletes or students to walk the path of those before them, is in my mind, a vital piece of the puzzle. Coaches, teachers and parents should never underestimate the power and influence of having successful role models to guide the young people looking up to them.
What lights the fire is probably as individual as DNA.
As coaches (and teacher/parents), keep the fire burning by providing more opportunities for the young athlete to develop a deeper level of knowledge and understanding of their passion. Once that impression is deep enough, there’s nothing stopping them from achieving their dream.