John O’Sullivan founded The Changing The Game Project in 2012 with the idea of bringing back “play” to youth sports, to help create a positive sporting environment for young athletes. He is also an author, speaker and former soccer player & coach on the youth, college and professional level.

He began his coaching career as the Varsity Boys Soccer Coach at Cardinal Gibbons HS in Raleigh, NC. then moved to become the Assistant Men’s and Women’s Soccer Coach at the University of Vermont in 1999. After that in 2003, he worked as a Director of Coaching for Nordic Spirit SC (Vt), Ann Arbor Youth Soccer Association (MI) and from 2006-2011 as the Executive Director of Oregon Rush Soccer Club in Bend, OR. and finally moved to the position of Central Oregon Regional Training Center Director for the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer before starting The Changing The Game Project.

He is the author of the bestseller: Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High-Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids. and his writing has also appeared in the Huffington Post, Soccer America, Soccer Journal, and many other publications.

He has spoken for TEDx, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, US Lacrosse, IMG Academy, and at many other events all throughout the US, Canada, Asia and Europe.

During this interview he talks about:

– how important it is to create a good environment for a young athlete to develop in, and why it is also important to try to keep kids in sports for as long as possible (0:00-2:16)

– how to help the athletes parents accept and understand these new ideas, that every person is different and that they need a different approach – one size fits all doesn’t work & the three primary ingredients of an athlete’s success (2:16-4:40)

– why it is also important for an athlete to learn things through sport that they can transfer to other parts of their life (4:40-7:13)

– how a coach can successfully walk the line between creativity and teaching basic technique, explicit and implicit learning and why implicit learning better transfers to competition (7:13-11:11)