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Why Less Is More for WOSPs (Well-Intentioned Overinvolved Sports Parents)

ISBN: 9781592988747
Binding: Paperback
Author: John M. Tauer Ph.D.
Trim: 6 x 8 inches
Published: 6/1/2015

Youth sports began as a way to develop character and values but they've evolved into a booming industry that involves millions of kids playing on traveling teams hiring personal trainers and attending camps and clinics all in the hopes of achieving athletic greatness. Parents want the best for their kids. Unfortunately wanting what is best is not always the same thing as doing what is best when it comes to children and sports.

In Why Less Is More for WOSPs (Well-Intentioned Overinvolved Sports Parents) Dr. John Tauer weaves rich stories together with empirical research and psychological theory to explain how the good intentions of WOSPs have gone awry to create a culture of overtrained and overstructured children. What types of goals should parents have for their children? How can we light a motivational fire in our children and then step back and watch it continue to burn on its own? Tauer addresses these and other important questions throughout this must-read book.


A lifelong athlete Dr. John M. Tauer is a professor of psychology a researcher on motivation an award-winning college basketball coach and the director of basketball camps that have been attended by thousands of children over the past twenty years. Tauer currently teaches and coaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul Minnesota.


"John Tauer is a great scientist and a terrific storyteller and this book reveals his deep insight into parental behavior sports psychology and our sports-crazed culture. His stories are alternately hilarious and frightening and he's always teaching-the sure sign of an intrinsically motivated coach. Readers will come away with a deep understanding of social psychological principles and human behavior amidst fascinating stories and wonderful advice for parents. It's a tour de force!" -Judith Harackiewicz Ph.D. Paul Pintrich Professor of Psychology University of Wisconsin-Madison

"John Tauer's book is an important addition to the youth sports literature. His description of the research behind intrinsic motivation and other key principles leading to success in sports and life is alone worth the price of the book." -Jim Thompson founder and CEO of Positive Coaching Alliance

"This brilliant book by esteemed scientist professor and coach John Tauer will guide parents back to the essence of sports for their kids-that in athletics we learn to cooperate and find our strength passion and resilience." -Dacher Keltner Ph.D. Thomas and Ruth Ann Hornaday Professor of Psychology director Berkeley Social Interaction Laboratory faculty director Greater Good Science Center

"John Tauer is a highly successful basketball coach as well as a professor of psychology giving him a unique perspective into how young athletes behave on the court and how their parents behave off it." -Bob Sansevere Pioneer Press columnist and The Ticket radio talk show host

"As a TV journalist I've relied on Dr. John Tauer's expertise and research on what motivates us for years. As a dad of two young boys this is the book I've been waiting for. We all think it's the other parents who are the WOSPs but John's experience as a player coach researcher and parent might have you wondering if you are the problem. More importantly he helps us become part of the solution." -Jason DeRusha WCCO news anchor Twin Cities media personality

"This book is an important contribution to the literature on parenting and coaching young athletes in the twenty-first century. It is well researched and provides a path for parents to help their children have an enjoyable and successful youth sports experience. It is a great read and I highly recommend it to any parent who truly wants to help a child achieve his or her best." -John O'Sullivan founder Changing the Game Project

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