How an AMS can Promote Accountability and Responsibility in Youth Athletes

The challenges facing youth athletes

Playing and competing in sport is fundamentally different for youth athletes (i.e. aged from 10-18 years of age) compared to adults. During this time, young athletes undergo intense periods of physiological, biomechanical and psychosocial change that is overlaid with unpredictable demands from academic, sport, social and work commitments [1].  Navigating the intersection of these changes and demands in the context of sports performance and education is a challenge and delicate balancing act – just ask any parent of a young athlete, or the athletes themselves.  As a result, physical and psychological stresses can interact in unique and variable ways that can impact educational and sporting performance [1].


Consider also that the majority of youth sport is played in community settings with volunteer coaches and support staff – resources and expertise can be limited, which can impact access to high-quality coaching, sports medicine and sports science resources [1].  At the same time, we have seen in recent years an increase in competitiveness in youth sport, including expanded physical training and increased competition volume.  Often young athletes are playing multiple sports at representative, club and school levels – allocation of time for rest, recovery and an off-season are often not addressed very well [2]. This can contribute to a range of sports injuries and health issues including acute injury, overuse injuries, burnout and overtraining to name a few.


Athlete Monitoring Systems (AMS) are a tool that can help young athletes navigate this period of their lives.  Until recently an AMS was the province of elite professional sports teams, costing tens of thousands of dollars per year to set up and maintain.  Technology is now at a stage and price point that makes an AMS accessible to everyone.  In the youth athlete space, an AMS offers a novel approach that challenges conventional practice to help navigate education, sport and adolescent development.

What is an Athlete Monitoring System?

An AMS is a sports specific software that uses athletic data collected by coaches and athletes to inform decision making and improve performance. An AMS can collect a range of subjective data about athlete wellbeing, overall health, physiological performance as well as feedback about training and competition. This information provides a comprehensive and data-informed view of an athlete’s development, performance, and progress.  As a result, this affords coaches a more informed approach to both training and education. Utopia is developing healthy, capable and resilient young athletes that balance school, sporting, social and work commitments, however, this goal comes with considerable challenges for everyone [2]. One thing to note right at the top is that accurate data entry is critical to getting the most value from an AMS. 



We need to start thinking about an AMS as a tool for supporting adolescent growth and development. In an elite sports environment, an AMS is used to optimise readiness, ensure training prescription is optimal, reduce injury risk and monitor the effectiveness of programs.  These are all good reasons to use an AMS.  But in a youth athlete context, an AMS is also critical to help educate young athletes on how to be successful athletes – they are still learning in this space and an AMS can help parents and coaches provide guidance as they learn how to be and what it takes to fulfill their athletic potential.


An AMS can also help identify performance and wellness trends in a positive or negative direction.  Over time data from an AMS can show young athletes how their growth and development relates to athletic performance.  Overall, an AMS can offer some key tools to empower parents and young athletes to be more informed and proactive drivers in their child’s education and sporting journey.

Athlete Management Systems, Self-awareness, and Accountability

 Adolescence is a period of self-discovery and growth across all aspects of life.  During this time a range of skills and abilities are developed and honed including time management, goal setting, responsibility, self-awareness, communication and prioritizing. An AMS provides youth athletes an opportunity to develop these skills and understand their importance not only in an athletic context but in all areas.


Let’s break it down.


Understanding Strengths and Opportunities for Improvement

An AMS can help provide young athletes with an objective view of their current performance and progress.  It’s one thing for a coach, parent or teammate to give feedback and encouragement – however, seeing your performance metrics in cold, hard data is another experience entirely.


Young athletes and their parents can be empowered by objective data in the following ways;


1.     Identifying areas of improvement

2.     Setting realistic goals for their stage of development and training

3.     Track progress over time and appreciate the concept of long-term vision

4.     Make informed training decisions


Promoting Responsibility and Accountability

While An AMS is primarily known for tracking sports-related data, the secondary benefits extend far beyond this field and contribute to the development of essential life skills. With scheduling, communication, training, and daily reporting features, an AMS serves as powerful tool to help foster time management, timely communication, discipline, and goal setting. With an AMS in hand, youth athletes learn to take increasing ownership of their sporting and personal development, understanding that their choices, actions, work ethic and values directly relate to performance.


Young athletes can begin to;

1.     Learn time management

2.     Understand the importance of preparation and recovery

3.     Set appropriate schedules and priorities

4.     Understand the impact of consistency and commitment

5.     Learn the value of communication with parents, coaches and peers


An AMS bridges the gap between youth sports and adult life, imparting invaluable life skills that extend far beyond the field of play.


Challenging Excuses and Fostering Responsibility: Data Doesn’t Lie

 It’s not uncommon for youth athletes to rely on excuses or external factors to explain their performance or lack thereof.  It could be the weather, a tough opponent, officiating, or even their teammates.  Other factors can become a shield against the reality of preparation and performance.  However, an AMS encourages youth athletes to look beyond those factors and lean into their athletic data to really dig into why they did or didn’t perform as they expected. 


Data Doesn’t Lie

No one can deny objective data measurements such as speed, strength, power and load. There is no ambiguity in these measurements and an AMS can monitor and report on these performance metrics. Whether that is slower sprint times, lower endurance, or poor sleep over the last 2 weeks – objective data can offer you a clear snapshot of performance, current capacity and ability to execute.


Objective data supports the development of youth athletes by:


1.     Identifying performance trends

2.     Eliminating external factors and blame for poor performance

3.     Encouraging self-reflection

4.     Motivating change

5.     Understand key factors associated with consistent performance


Promoting a Growth Mindset

One of the most significant ways an AMS supports youth athletes is by helping to promote a growth mindset. This mindset emphasizes the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work.  It replaces the notion of innate talent and external factors as the primary determinants of success. In a world where excuses can become a shield against responsibility, an AMS can challenge conventional wisdom by encouraging young athletes to learn to take full ownership of their performance. The data-driven insights they provide help athletes develop the skills to acknowledge their strengths and identify their areas of improvement, fostering a growth mindset and promoting a newfound level of responsibility. Through this lens, an AMS empowers youth athletes to realize that the key to success lies within themselves, ultimately helping to shape them into more accountable and resilient individuals on and off the field.


With athlete monitoring systems, young athletes learn that:

1.     Effort determines performance, not just raw talent

2.     Goal setting and consistency leads to increased performance

3.     Accountability to training processes improves performance

Balancing Monitoring and Privacy: Nurturing Responsibility in Adolescent Athletes

Maintaining a delicate equilibrium between vigilant supervision and respecting the privacy of youth athletes is paramount. This balance not only safeguards their autonomy but also promotes the development of responsibility. Young athletes need the space to explore, learn from their mistakes, and grow.  Balancing monitoring and privacy ensures a gradual transition to independence.


Privacy: A Fundamental Right

Respecting the privacy of adolescent athletes is not a compromise; it's a recognition of their fundamental rights. It acknowledges their need for personal boundaries and autonomy, a crucial aspect of their growth as individuals.


Building Trust and Responsibility

By shifting from incessant monitoring to an environment built on trust, we foster a sense of personal responsibility. This approach encourages young athletes to:


· Act Voluntarily: When athletes feel trusted, they're more likely to take responsibility without external pressure. This shift empowers them to prove their dedication and commitment.


· Embrace Accountability: As they are given more space, athletes learn to be personally accountable for their actions and choices. They begin to understand that their decisions influence their journey.


Encouraging Informed Decision-Making


Challenging constant monitoring prompts athletes to actively engage in their development:


· Making Informed Choices: With access to data insights, athletes learn to make informed choices about their training, nutrition, and lifestyle. The process is guided but not dictated, enhancing their ability to navigate complex decisions.


· Proactive Seeking of Guidance: Athletes learn to seek guidance when they need it. They begin to understand the importance of reaching out to coaches or parents for advice, fostering a collaborative relationship built on trust and mutual respect.


A Gradual Transition to Independence


Balancing monitoring and privacy ensure a gradual transition to independence. Young athletes need the space to explore, learn from their mistakes, and grow.


This measured approach prepares them for the responsibilities they will face in adulthood, both in sports and life beyond. It's a transformation that empowers them to steer their own path while understanding the importance of personal ownership.


An AMS can empower young athletes without intruding on their privacy or stifling their autonomy. This balance, achieved through mutual trust, responsibility, and informed decision-making, cultivates an environment where athletes are not just participants but develop into stewards of their own athletic journey. In this environment, we challenge the conventional notion of constant surveillance, enabling young athletes to develop into responsible, resilient, and self-aware individuals ready to take on the future.

Empowering Without Micromanaging: A Collaborative Approach with Athlete Monitoring Systems


A young athlete’s journey is not solely up to them, they need help, support, guidance and feedback – even if they don’t realise it! While self-accountability is indeed important, there's a middle ground where parents can play an empowering role without crossing the line into micromanagement. An AMS can serve as a catalyst for this shift towards a collaborative approach, challenging the idea that it's exclusively the athlete's responsibility.


1. Establishing a Supportive Environment


Rather than imposing an overwhelming presence, parents can create a nurturing and supportive environment. An AMS can enable this by allowing parents to:


· Open Communication Channels: AMS systems offer a platform for parents and athletes to engage in meaningful conversations about performance, health, and progress. Parents can express their support and eagerness to assist without being overbearing.


· Encourage Questions: Parents can encourage their children to ask questions about their data. By fostering curiosity and an eagerness to learn, they create an environment where athletes feel comfortable seeking guidance.


2. Co-Planning and Goal Setting


Athlete monitoring systems allow parents and athletes to work together on goal-setting and training plans:


· Shared Goal Setting: Based on the data insights, parents can collaboratively set goals with their children. This shared goal-setting process empowers young athletes and highlights the importance of teamwork and mutual commitment.


· Training Plan Adjustments: Parents and athletes can discuss training routines and make adjustments as needed. This inclusive approach ensures that athletes feel their voice is heard and respected in shaping their journey.


3. Encouraging Autonomy and Responsibility


Empowering through athlete monitoring systems means guiding athletes to take responsibility while allowing them to make decisions:


· Learning from Mistakes: Parents can encourage athletes to learn from their mistakes and setbacks instead of stepping in immediately. This helps adolescents understand the consequences of their choices and promotes a sense of ownership.


· Encouraging Problem Solving: Athlete monitoring data often reveals areas of improvement. Parents can prompt their children to think of strategies to address these weaknesses, fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills.


4. Positive Reinforcement


Parents can use an AMS as a tool for positive reinforcement:


· Celebrating Achievements: Recognizing and celebrating achievements based on data insights can be an empowering experience for young athletes. Parents can provide encouragement and reinforcement to acknowledge their dedication and hard work.


· Focusing on Personal Growth: By shifting the focus from winning at all costs to personal growth and development, parents contribute to a more nurturing and motivating environment. This approach challenges conventional notions of success in youth sports.


By adopting a collaborative approach that emphasizes communication, shared goal setting, autonomy, and positive reinforcement, parents can challenge the idea that an athlete's journey is solely their responsibility.


Instead, they foster an environment where young athletes can feel supported, encouraged, and capable of taking charge of their athletic development with a sense of responsibility and ownership.


Why Athlete Monitoring Systems make sense for adolescent athletes


An AMS offers much more value than their traditional use of tracking performance data – for young athletes and their parents, an AMS can help beyond these roles and help promote essential life skills, balanced responsibility, and supportive collaboration. 


When you consider the capacity of an AMS to offer value in these areas, there is a clear opportunity to provide valuable support and information for young athletes and parents as they navigate education and sport during adolescence.  Having a tool such as this to help athletes develop the ability to avoid excuses, embrace discipline, focus on long-term growth and provide opportunities for great conversations with parents, coaches and peers is an exciting prospect. An AMS can help enable parents to be active, supportive participants without micromanaging, creating a nurturing environment where autonomy and personal responsibility flourish.




1.         McKay, C.D., S.P. Cumming, and T. Blake, Youth sport: Friend or Foe? Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol, 2019. 33(1): p. 141-157.

2.         Bergeron, M.F., et al., International Olympic Committee consensus statement on youth athletic development. Br J Sports Med, 2015. 49(13): p. 843-51.