What Coaches Need to Understand About Their Differently Wired Athletes

gender nonconformity kids

​If you have a differently wired child who is athletic and/or is into sports, this episode is for you. My guest is Susan Stout, the founder Own Beat Athlete, a new resource aimed at helping athletic coaches understand their athletes who march to a different beat. Susan knows from personal experience as an athlete herself, a former coach, and the parent of an athletic differently wired child, that many great athletes can be challenging to coach because of their wiring—they can be easily frustrated, disruptive, forgetful, inconsistent. But she also knows that they can be a teams’ greatest asset. Susan’s goal is to equip others with what she wishes she knew when she was a coach, and support and bring out the best in the many athletes who didn’t fit the mold, with a specific focus on athletes with ADHD, learning differences, and anxiety.

This is a really interesting conversation and Susan’s resources are a great starting point for listeners who want to bridge that gap of knowledge between their child’s behavior and their sports coach. I hope you enjoy it.


About Susan Stout

Susan Stout is an advocate for athletes who are wired differently and struggle to participate or reach their potential in sports. She specializes in ADHD, learning differences and anxiety. Susan is the founder of Own Beat Athlete, a project to provide athletic coaches with the understanding and tools they need to help their differently wired athletes thrive. She brings to the work her perspective as a swimmer, coach, teacher, lawyer and mom to an avid and talented young athlete with ADHD and dyslexia.

After graduating from Duke University, Susan began her career coaching club and summer league swimming and teaching elementary and middle school. She later earned a Master’s in Education from the University of Virginia and a law degree from Georgetown University. At Georgetown and while in private litigation practice, she represented students with learning differences who were not receiving the services to which they were entitled in the District of Columbia public schools. She aims to equip others with what she wishes she knew when she was a coach, trying to support and bring out the best in the many athletes who didn’t fit the mold.


Things you’ll learn from this episode

  • How and when parents should let athletic coaches know about a child’s wiring
  • What kind of unique gifts differently wired athletes bring to their sports
  • What the common challenges are for differently wired kids participating in sports
  • How parents can talk with their kids about learning how to self-advocate for themselves with their coaches
  • Susan’s thoughts on how willing coaches are to better understand and support their differently wired athletes
  • How Own Beat Athlete supports coaches (and parents of athletes) to know how to practically support and problem solve with challenges related to neurodifferences
  • What parents should look for to know whether or not they should step in


Resources mentioned for coaching differently wired athletes


Episode Transcript

Debbie Reber  00:00

Today’s show is brought to you by Audible. Audible is offering listeners of the Tilt Parenting podcast, a free audiobook with a 30-day trial membership. Just go to audibletrial.com/tiltparenting and browse the selection of audio programs, download a title for free and start listening. It’s that easy. Just go to audibletrial.com/tiltparenting.

Susan Stout  00:24

So the kid, you know, might be saying, Look, all day long. I’ve felt like I was getting told you’re doing this wrong; you’re doing that wrong, you’re messing up and the kid arrives to afternoon practice completely frustrated, and one little thing sets them off. You know, for the coach to have the knowledge, the awareness, say okay, the best thing to do is not to jump on this kid right now to think about where it came from. But coming from the kid’s voice like this is what I need. This is what could be helpful.

Debbie Reber  00:57

Welcome to Tilt Parenting, a podcast featuring interviews and conversations aimed at inspiring, informing, and supporting parents raising differently wired kids. My name is Debbie Reber and I’m the host of this show. And today’s episode is a completely new topic for this podcast, and something I’m really excited to share because I have a sense that many listeners would benefit from knowing about this resource, especially if you have a differently wired child who is athletic or is really into sports. My guest is Susan stout. She’s the founder of Own Beat Athlete, which is a new resource aimed at helping athletic coaches understand their athletes who march to a different beat. Susan knows from personal experience as an athlete herself, as a former coach, and as the parent of an athletic differently wired child that many great athletes can be challenging to coach because of their wiring. They can be easily frustrated, they can be disruptive or forgetful, inconsistent, but Susan also knows that these athletes can be a team’s greatest asset. So her goal is to equip others with what she wishes she knew when she was a coach, and to try to support and bring out the best in many athletes who don’t fit the mold with a specific focus on athletes with ADHD, learning differences, and anxiety. This is a really interesting conversation. And Susan’s resources are a great starting point for listeners who want to bridge that gap of knowledge between their child’s behavior and their child’s sports coach, I hope you enjoy this episode. And two quick announcements. If you live in the Raleigh Durham, North Carolina area, I’m going to be doing a free community education event called How to Accept Our Child for Who They Are at the Hill Learning Center in Durham this week, Wednesday, February 20, at 6:30pm. So if you do live in that part of the country, and you’re interested in attending, go to Tilt Parenting Facebook page, go to the events tab and you’ll see a link where you can RSVP and if you’re not in that part of the world, we’ll also be live streaming the event. So I will include a link to the live stream also on the tilde parenting Facebook page. So that URL is facebook.com/tiltparenting. I hope to see you there. Lastly, I wanted to give a quick shout out to some new supporters of the podcast, Lindsay McFadden and Jasmine Harrison, thank you so much for joining my Patreon campaign and helping me fund the show and supporting Tilt. If you enjoy this podcast and would also like to support its production, please consider joining Lindsay and Jasmine by signing up for my Patreon campaign and consider supporting it at the five or 10 or even $20 a month level. All of that money goes directly toward covering both the production costs for this show, as well as just the administrative and the technical costs associated with keeping Tilt Parenting going. So thank you so much for considering. And if you want to learn more, or sign up, just go to patreon.com/tiltparenting. And Patreon is spelled p a t a r e o n. Thank you so much. And now here is my conversation with Susan.

Debbie Reber  04:30

Hello, Susan, welcome to the podcast.

Susan Stout  04:32

Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

Debbie Reber  04:34

You know you’re a member of the Tilt community and you emailed me a I don’t know a long time ago, planting the seed that you were developing what we’re going to be talking about today and you’ve now launched your program and so I’m excited to share the really interesting work that you’re doing with the rest of the tilt tribe. But before we get into that and learn more about your work, can you just introduce us to who you are and a little bit about your personal why.

Susan Stout  05:03

Sure. I come to this through I think I’ll as a lot of people do through a lot of number of paths in my life that points, I was thinking, how are these fitting together and now, they’ve all really converged into something that is near and dear to my heart. And that I’m really excited about. I started off a professionally I started off as a teacher. And as a swim coach, I had been a pretty serious swimmer. And that I often talk about that as the best job that I ever had, where I was just so locked in, I would lose all track of time and just loved, you know, forming the relationships with the kids and the parents. And the thing that I liked the best about it that really transfers into the work that I’m doing now is you, you really start with kids who are young, and watch them grow until they’re older. And I didn’t feel the same way about teaching. So I did that for a short time. And when I was teaching, I had to stop coaching as well. And after that, I got a master’s in education and worked for some educational nonprofits. And that sort of directed my interest towards the legal areas of education. So I, sort of late in the game, I went to law school, and I became a litigator, and you can see where my paths are all over the place. But as a litigator, I, I worked with kids, and on a pro bono basis, I represented kids and families who’s when the students were not getting the special education services to which they were entitled in the DC public schools, which is a large number of kids. And that really kept me excited and grounded in the field of kids and education and families. And I’m still an attorney, I work now with the county here. But I have begun my Own Beat Athlete project, which, you know, really pulls together a lot of those interests and it was sparked by becoming the parent of a differently wired child, who also happens to be a very excited and avid athlete. But I have watched him and others struggle to find their way in a lot of the programs, you know, whether it’s a rec program, and the kids are there to have fun, or whether it’s a higher level program, and there are more demands on time and executive functioning and commitment. And I’ve watched both the effects on the athletes, I’ve watched the coaches struggle with it. And as a parent, I’ve dealt with it at home and trying to make that a wonderful positive experience that sports really can and should be, especially for a lot of these kids, it’s really important. And not have it be one more place where they feel like they’re frustrated and not fitting in and not able to make it work. So I recognized sort of the reasoning behind OBD athlete is I realized that a lot of this starts with the coaches and with coaches’ information, I look back at myself when I was a coach. And I was all in. I loved it, I had these long relationships with families. I didn’t know any of this, I knew the words ADHD, I knew dyslexia. But I didn’t know what it meant. And I didn’t. I now realize I didn’t coach to it very well. And had I had that information, I would have been much more effective, I think, with those kids and those families. So that’s where I am today is trying to get that word out and educate really the coaches and in my other audiences are the families who I think a lot of what I talk about in my work is also helpful, you know, very similar to the advice for parents and to know how to, for a lot of the athletes themselves, just start to recognize them because I work I talk both about the things that are challenging, but the other part of my message is these kids are fabulous assets to any program. And it’s up to the coach to be able to bring those things out. But it also really instills confidence in the kids to see you know, I’ve got profiles of you know, athletes who have been very successful, but just for any kid to realize, hey, you know, I have something special to bring to this program. It’s not just a matter of making me fit into this box.

Debbie Reber  09:43

Exactly. Well tell us a little bit more about Own Beat Athlete and you know, what you currently offer for coaches. And maybe I don’t know if you have a master plan, like you know, where do you see it kind of evolving into, you know, you just recently lost benched. I know the website; I’ll make sure to share in the show notes so people can check it out. It’s really well designed. And it’s just great. Like it has a great energy about it. So tell us more about what you’re hoping to do through Home Beat Athlete and what you currently offer.

Susan Stout  10:15

Okay. Own Beat Athlete right now, the website is the vehicle. I have intermediate plans, and I have huge dreams. And well start with where I am now, which is the website is designed for coaches, I say, and parents and athletes, but primarily the primary audience is coaches to be able to go in at a pretty quick glance, learn what they need to know, to recognize some of these athletes and you know, you talk in your book, and I talk a lot about how these differences are invisible. And coaches often don’t know. And so my first goal with the website is awareness, you’re just going to say, Look, this is this is a thing, this is what it looks like that can look like and to, for them to be able to educate themselves about both what it looks like and then tools for okay, what can I do? What are some quick tips that I can learn. I mean, these coaches, most of them, don’t have a ton of time, they’re very immersed in their coaching. This is relationship building and aspects of kids differences and mental health are much more in the conversations today. But it’s still not the core of what they’re trying to figure out for their program. So I want them to be able to go on and they can get some concise bullets. Right now I focus on ADHD, learning differences, and anxiety as sort of three buckets, although as you know, they overlap and it’s not necessarily related to target, you know, figure out which one it is you’re not trying to diagnose but say, these are some of the things that I that I’m seeing in my kids. And then some real concrete tools. I call it the coach’s toolkit, you know, they’re 11 tips, 11 facts about each of those differences. And then 11 tips, What Can I do? You know, I can, you know, instead of talking for 10 minutes, and then wondering why the kid doesn’t remember the play that I just told him, I can recognize that it’s not going to remember things I say I need to write it down. You know, instead of talking, you know, if a kid is having difficulty paying attention, instead of reprimanding him for throwing him out, maybe I can let him sit on an exercise ball or talk to him later. So really concrete things that the coaches can do right away. But I also do have up there because I think there is an audience in a lot of the coaches, and I think also helpful to the parents and the athletes. There’s a blog section where I go a little deeper. And one approach that I’ve taken that I think works well with coaches, because what I’m trying to do is get them to really relate, what I’ve found is that the coaches who have been told they have you know, one or more kids who are differently, wired, will engage a little more, they’re very excited about it. Others they’re not so sure, because they don’t know yet. And so what I’m trying to do is make it very relatable to things they’ve seen. And I’ve got one blog section that has letters to coaches written from a kid’s perspective. So the kid, you know, might be saying, look, all day long, I’ve felt like I was getting told you’re doing this wrong, you’re doing that wrong, you’re messing up, and the kid arrives at afternoon practice completely frustrated. And one little thing sets him off, you know, for the coach to have the knowledge, the awareness, hey, okay, the best thing to do is not to jump on this kid right now to think about where it came from. But coming from the kid’s voice, like this is what I need. This is what could be helpful. I also really highlight up there, there’s one section called what’s behind the behavior. And that, again, is pretty quick bullets for the coach to be able to see, you know, I see this kid, I’m angry, I’m taking it personally, you know, I feel like the kid is just misbehaving. Or he can’t ever remember what I said, or he’s never listening to take a pause and say women, this is a biological difference. And that’s one thing that I hit pretty hard. It’s not something they can improve just by trying harder. And these are some things that you can do. So I start out with that approach. But also, the next section is the obey superpowers, as I call them. Like, this is why you don’t want to help these kids just, you know, out of kindness or just to make your job easier to make the behavior easier. But because of what they can bring, and this is one thing I think the first time that I reached out to you was when I was just was reading your book, and it resonated so much with my view that we really need to change how we’re looking at these kids, not as kids that we’re trying to mold into a way that will make it easier for us to parent or to have them in our practice but to really say Wait a minute, the world needs to take advantage of these different ways of thinking and different strengths and different skills. So through the superpowers section, you know, they can see again, really sort of bulleted approach that some of these athletes can hyperfocus, you know, like no one else. So they’re in a game, everyone else is losing it, and they can really keep doing what they need to do. They have a ton of energy, they’re resourceful. And then I’ve put up because I think a lot of times coaches and athletes can relate to this, I’ve got videos on the site of some Olympic and professional athletes who have talked on videos about their ADHD, their dyslexia, the struggles that came with that their anxiety, and coaches that have helped them through or even the things that they see as strengths. There’s one Olympic rower, I just love it. He’s like, you know, a boat is a whole team, and it has, you know, everyone has a different skill and a different approach. And everyone is needed in that boat equally. So you’re my skill was I was always bringing the energy and the focus. So I really love that visual of it’s how I see the whole site, it’s showing coaches that every kid that they have has strengths and weaknesses, and there are some really concrete things you can do to help these kids shine and enjoy what they’re doing and reach their potential.

Debbie Reber  16:25

What’s the outreach like in terms of connecting with coaches? As I’m listening, I’m wondering, do coaches even know that they need this information. And how willing are they to? Like, are they seeking it out themselves? Or do you have a plan for outreach?

Susan Stout  16:40

Yes, well, and that’s kits, the next part of questions are where I’m going to go from the website? I think most of them don’t know. I think that is, that is the biggest hurdle. And also, the biggest opportunity to make a real change is that they don’t know because they don’t see it in the kids, they might see a kid just like I did when I was coaching, oh, why is that kid always, you know, back in the lane line and not listening to me and asking me 10 seconds later what I said, why won’t he just listen? And now with my, the information and experience that I have, as a parent, I say, oh, okay, well, maybe if instead of talking to them, while they’re in the water, we all get out and walk around the deck and, you know, do something different. And I guess just a side point on that, I think the coaches, when they don’t know, let me finish this, that they don’t know that they need it. And therefore, my approach is to tell them why they know, I am working both to reach out to individual coaches. And also their coaches are required to do a lot of training, often to you know, to get certified at the rec league level, it might be, you know, they pull all the coaches in on one Saturday and train them in a large number of things at a higher level at the USS level. And certainly at a collegiate or national level, coaches do a lot of training. And they might do it through an organizational body, or other groups. And so I’m my approach is to do outreach to let those groups that people who are providing the training, at the first level, I understand why this is important, and to include it and right now, I am also directing individual coaches to my website, but my plan in the long term is to have other vehicles to get that training out. Since there’s only one me I am planning to have a video approach, which I think may be the most useful for a lot of these programs, you know, if I can send them a video, and they can add that in as 10-20 minutes into their training program, at least the coaches have the awareness and then the ones you know, they can take it back and dig into the more detailed information on the website. So that’s sort of my shorter term. I’m also looking to get some more athletes involved with some of the athletes who have been successful with this and profile them and hopefully include some of their success stories, because I think a lot of times you say the coaches don’t know. And if you can bring it down to their sport, or to what they’re seeing day to day, then it will really resonate. You know, and I think another avenue that I’ve had a lot of success with so far is with parents, because the parents are the ones who do know. And so I’ve had a lot of parents say to me, this is helpful to me to be able to inform my son’s coach or my daughter’s coach and it’s helpful especially in what can be sort of an awkward situation for a parent, especially as the kids get older. You don’t want to be, or your kid doesn’t want you to be there having a half hour conversation with your coach about what they can and cannot do or what might help them. are, what they’re uncomfortable with or why they’re so great. So to be able to email the coach and I’ve had a number of parents do this and say this is something about my kid, this might be helpful, and then really be able to step back and let the coach had the information without the parent feeling overly involved.

Debbie Reber  20:19

And now a quick break for a message from our sponsor. Today’s show is brought to you by Audible. Audible is offering our listeners a free audiobook with a 30-day trial membership. Just go to audibletrial.com/tiltparenting and browse through the selection of audio programs, download a title for free and start listening. You can grab audio books, original audio shows, news, comedy and more. This month, I’m reading two books with Audible, one is Wuthering Heights, because I have assigned it to Asher for school. And there’s no way I can read it as fast as he can. So I’m listening to it. I also downloaded Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime which Asher and I started listening to while on a road trip last weekend to download your free audiobook, just go to audibletrial.com/tiltparenting. 

Debbie Reber  21:10

And now back to the show. Yeah, I would think that would be really important. That was one of my questions about parents disclosing. I think that’s something most listeners have weighed at one point or another, who do I tell, maybe the teacher needs to know, maybe the after-school activity person doesn’t need to know or, you know, the camp counselor, whatever. And I think there is always that concern about maybe putting a bull’s eye on your kids back if you talk about it too much. So I love this idea that, you know, they don’t have to be the ones just, you know, sharing all this deep information and going into that level of detail, but just saying this is going on, and here’s a great resource you might want to check out.

Susan Stout  21:56

Yes. And, you know, that comes from my personal experience to your I would always ask, you know, my son, do you want me to tell should you know, what should we do and so have made that his choice because it was his car, and is his information that’s changed a little bit over time. And it might vary by situation. But it is also even if the kid is resistant, you know, himself maybe as a, as a high school student, Nora, you know, to having that conversation and putting it out there. You can’t expect the coach to be understanding and as able to deal with it if you don’t let them know. So it’s not an easy that that is not an easy, it’s a tricky balance to strike. And one that I think that this website, I hope can also help parents to have those conversations with their kids to say, you know, I know you don’t want to be that kid or that, you know, the kid who the coach is doing something special for but here are some pros and cons, these are some of the things your coach might be able to do. I mean, I think one thing that I emphasized in my bullets for coaches is a lot of this behavior that you’re saying it’s not directed at you, it’s not about you, the kid is frustrated. And you know, he doesn’t have the coping skills to say that in the right way. So to show the kid, you know, if your coach has this information and is able to work with you and let you move or write things down, or then your experience will change. And I think sometimes that can help the kids to appreciate that there’s a different reason for, for letting the coach know, another thing that that I emphasize, you know, for the athletes and also for the coaches is that you know, these coaching tools, first of all, they’re helpful to any kid, a lot of the emphasis on the site is you don’t want to say okay, well for Johnny, we’re writing this down, you know, we’re just writing it down, we’re just putting the workout on a big board up at the front of the front of the gym so that everyone can see it. But there are instances where the coach may make an accommodation, or the kid might act out in a certain way. And the coach might take a pause and say, Okay, I can deal with that right now. I’m going to wait until things have cooled off or I’m going to talk about it later when these kids can really be insightful about it. And I think coaches worry a lot about treating different kids differently. And you know, a lot of in love athletic programs traditionally, it’s like, you know, here are the rules and you got the with the program. And I want coaches to understand that kids get it the other kids get it. And if it’s done skillfully, then it’s just another way of understanding every kid every kid is different and learning what the best ways are to bring out the best in each of them. So I think the more we can move towards that and the less coaches feel that it, yeah, they have to treat every single kid in the exact same way is helpful, right?

Debbie Reber  25:06

You know, as we’re talking, I’m thinking about that meme, which I wrote about in my book, and it still kind of gets me a little annoyed that it went around a few years ago. I’m going to just share it, I’m sure you are very familiar with it. Your child’s success or lack of success in sports does not indicate what kind of parent you are. But having an athlete that is coachable, respectful, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient, and tries their best is a direct reflection of your parenting.

Susan Stout  25:35

You know what, I’ve never seen that. But oh, gosh.

Debbie Reber  25:39

Yeah, that I still remember the morning that came through my Facebook newsfeed, I was not a happy mama. But that leads me into the question, you know, what are, I guess? What are some of the struggles that you see more common struggles that differently wired kids might have in successfully participating in sports? And some of those barriers to true understanding. I mean, you just talked about the coaches need to have that authority like there are dynamics that are set up? And so it seems like there’ll be lots of potential trouble areas here. What are some of the most common ones? 

Susan Stout  26:16

A lot of the most common ones are ones that I mean, it’s all going to sound very familiar to parents with just the same struggles that these kids have in getting through the day, you know, in school at home. I think the ones that are very commonly understood by coaches, and by the uninitiated in the world are, they might be restless, they might be impulsive, they might talk back. But the pieces that they’re often missing, I think, are the emotional pieces, the highly sensitive or the kid who might be quietly distracted, or disorganizing. Why do you never have the right uniform? Why are your shorts at home when you’re, you know, shirt is here I’m putting on the bench. Another one is inconsistency in ability and performance. And in saying that, I don’t necessarily mean sports performance, but sort of, you know, one day, the kid is able to remember what you said and follow the directions and the next day they can’t. And so then to the coach, it looks like this kid isn’t trying to do it yesterday, he must just not be wanting to do that today. Another that comes up a lot in sports is difficulty with setting goals and long-term planning and then following through. So the kid may say, I really want to make it to Nationals. But then to set those daily goals and follow through that requires a lot of executive functioning. Anxiety and overwhelm is another one that, you know, it comes out in ways that look like anger or looks like you know, shut down or it doesn’t, it’s not the kid coming up and saying, Oh, I’m really nervous. I’m really nervous, we’ve got a big game today. It’s the kid who’s screaming at you about something totally unrelated. And it takes peeling off the layers to figure out that they’re anxious because they’re starting for the first time. So what I’m hoping to do is unlock some of that information so that the coach can then deal with it in a way that’s more helpful. And those are some of the things that I think are not as easily obvious results of the different wiring.

Debbie Reber  28:26

Well, you know, you’re a lifelong athlete, and this is kind of your area of passion. Tell us what you see as being the biggest benefits for that marriage of sports and differently wired kids. And just as a caveat, I know that not every kid is an athlete, in you know, organized sports are not a part of my child’s life. And so it’s not necessary but what do you see the benefits being for differently wired kids participating in, in athletics?

Susan Stout  28:56

Well, I’m glad you said that because I as I talk about these only the first one that I see this are the exercise piece that is really great for everybody, for all kids, when I think about how I feel when I get up and go outside it the take a walk in the middle of a day at my desk, you know, that’s 10 times you know, for some of these kids, but a lot of the benefits of sports are also found and I think a lot of these this information in these tools can be the same as you know if you’re in scouts or if you’re in theater or doing something else after school where just the benefits of being in in a group and doing something outside of the classroom. So I think a lot of this does transfer. But you know, for all kids I think the benefits of sports are the exercise, the social skills, the camaraderie, and I think back on my experience, I’ve I have friends now who I haven’t seen in probably 25 years and if I picked up the phone, I would have a conversation with them, like it was yesterday from the bonds that we formed. But I think even specifically why it’s even more important for these kids is that a lot of them struggle in the school relationship in other contexts to form social relationships, social skills, and groups. And so having a shared goal, a shared interests can make that a lot easier. And if you have a skilled coach, I mean, this is really another place where I’m going with OBA is if you have a skilled coach, the involvement of that adult, especially as the kids get older, and you’re no longer having playdates that are facilitated by a number of thoughtful moms. Having the adult presence there, when you’re sort of aging out of other supervised relationships can be really helpful, and can also provide the kids with serve that adult non parent mentor that can be so important in the teenagers, when maybe the parent is the very last person that the kid wants to listen to. I remember days, my coach told me that I had had a good practice I was on cloud nine. And that influence can be really strong and really positive if it’s done in the right way.

Debbie Reber  31:18

So okay, so for parents who are listening to this, and their kids are involved in sports, what can they do in their homes and their families, to set up their kids to be able to handle tricky situations that might come up with their coaches, like how to learn how to be a better advocate for themselves. So it’s not the parent stepping in, but so the kid understands what they need and how to ask for it. Right?

Susan Stout  31:47

What I always say first is that the best thing this parent can do is listen. And that’s the good, the bad, the win or lose me a lot of times, it’s just silence for a while, you know, just letting the kid love those emotions stay in for the kid, especially for differently wired kids who are trying so hard to toe the line, and it can explode afterwards, whether it’s good or bad. And they really need to get that out. But after that passes, the parent can be a really good sounding board for talking through some different scenarios and solutions for handling a situation, you know, just like with, with anything outside of sports. And that’s another thing I didn’t mention about the website is there are some tools for communicating with the coach. I think through those questions that I suggest that coaches might want to ask parents, I think parents should think through them too, in advance and sort of think about what might be difficult where some of the hot buttons are going to be. But I think I’m a really key role for parents, in addition to providing a safe space and really listening so that the parents can know the difference between there, and no one knows the kid like the parents, so you know, listen to their gut and really know, is this a situation? You know, my kid is frustrated? Is this their normal reaction to something’s difficult? Or is this situation becoming unhealthy and something that I need to step into. But another key role short of that is often to prop the athlete up, I mean, conveying confidence in the athlete, and the kid can be preventive, as well as after the tough situation. So you’re so you can do this. And it’s a lot like, what I offer coaches about an anxious kid is, you know, you can do this, let’s think of some through some of the strategies. So some of the things that might be difficult, how can we handle this? You know, what can you think through what strategies can you put in place, but really to focus on the positives and all of the, and in saying that, I don’t mean in the difficult situation like that, I know that that’s sometimes a tough ask, but really to share at the get go, all of that, look, you know, you these are things that might be difficult, but these are the real strengths that you bring to the program. So don’t go in there, you know, hanging your head, have the kids watch the videos of the professional Olympic athletes who they talk very frankly, about their struggles, but also about how they help their teammates, and to really start out from that position so that when something does come up, it’s not the end of the world. And it’s not that I have no value to this team. It was difficult. How can we handle this differently in the future? So to serve to start from the same place that I do with the coaches, here are the things that might be challenges, but here are the reasons why you’re a really valuable asset to this team, or to this situation.

Debbie Reber  34:56

This is such great work. I just want to congratulate you on it. And I’m really just excited. I mean, since I launched Tilt, I’ve, you know, periodically gotten emails from parents who, who have been talking about this specific thing, you know, this marriage between being differently wired, but also being a highly gifted athlete and how difficult that can be. Because there is such a lack of understanding. So I’m just really excited that you’re making this available. And before we go, is there anything else that you want to share, and then of course, please tell our listeners where they can connect with you and learn more.

Susan Stout  35:33

Sure, one thing that I do want to follow up on that I just passed over really quickly is, parents will know, you know, I think when that’s when the situation becomes something that where they really do need to step in. But watching for things I say, I don’t think this is necessarily news to parents, but it could be for, for coaches, or people who are new to maybe a new level of the sport, you know, watching for any resistance to go into practice, or the games or mood changes, or, you know, of course, tears and stomach aches, and all those things, because I don’t want to pretend that this is easy, that you’re just going to send your coach this this information, and it’s all going to be great. It can be like pool and all things that these kids encounter in life, they have a different experience. And it can be a challenge. So I don’t want to diminish that. But I think that I am really excited about being able to tap into these kids strengths and really involve them in sports in a positive way. I think it’s exciting. And I you know; I say I have big dreams. And I understand I understand the sports world, you know, well enough to know that it’s not going to change overnight. And I’m not going to send this out to all the coaches never say, oh, no, you’re totally right. And so I am really gearing up to get the word out there. And I’m hoping to make a tilt to help make a shift.

Debbie Reber  36:59

Well, hopefully, this episode will help expand awareness of your work and let listeners know where we can connect with you online.

Susan Stout  37:08

The best way right now is OwnBeatAthlete.com. And the most helpful thing to do is to subscribe, and I don’t email very often, I have a blog that I send out once every two or three weeks. And with that, I always try to send some other helpful piece of information or highlight something that coaches and parents can use and think about. But that really will help me to get the awareness and start getting coaches and athletic organizations and schools to take notice that this is something that they need to pay attention to. I am on Twitter, I am also on Facebook, but everything there, you’re also going to find on the website. So I’m trying to direct people to that. And then also by subscribing as I’m putting out videos and new ways of reaching coaches, that’ll be the best way to know.

Debbie Reber  38:04

Great, well, listeners, I will leave links on the show notes page so that you can connect them and subscribe and learn more about Susan’s work. Susan, thank you so much. Super cool. I’m so excited. And I wish this had been around when I was a young athlete. But I’m so glad that you’re making it available now and for the I’m excited to see the change it’s going to make

Susan Stout  38:28

Great, well me too. Thank you so much. And I look forward to following your changes too. I say I’ve picked up your book and I felt like oh my goodness soulmates. So let’s go change the world.

Debbie Reber  38:41

You’ve been listening to the Tilt Parenting podcast for the show notes for this episode including a link to Susan’s website Own Beat Athlete, her Coaches Toolkit, and more visit tiltparenting.com/session145. A quick reminder that my book differently wired is now available as an audiobook narrated by yours truly, to listen to a sample or to purchase it just go to amazon.com or to audible.com. And don’t forget to leave a rating or review or both for Tilt Parenting on Apple podcasts. If you haven’t done so already. Ratings and reviews help keep this podcast visible and an ever-growing sea of podcasts. So thank you so much for taking the time to support the show that way. And that’s all for now. Thank you again for listening. And for more information on tilde parenting, you can visit www.tiltparenting.com


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