by Wendy Jackson Slaton | photos by Jenna Duncan Photography
NFL fans will know Darius Morris from his time with the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys, where he was an offensive guard and offensive tackle. Nowadays, though, he’s focused on helping young athletes to develop their skills with his new program, TRAIN4EXCELLENCE. This month, he’s sharing his thoughts on the changing landscape of youth sports, when to seek extra training for your young athlete, and the benefits he’s seen from playing sports as both an athlete and a father.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY.
My name is Darius Morris.I grew up in Long Branch, New Jersey, where I played basketball and football. I grew up only really playing basketball–I did not play football until I was in high school. My family is my wife and our four children. My wife and I have been with each other since high school.Our oldest daughter, Janiya, will be a sophomore at North Shore High School and can sing like no other. Our two sons, Darius Jr. and Josiah, are sport fanatics and math fanatics, and our youngest daughter, Avi’Ani, is all about math, gymnastics, and her princess and Barbie dolls. All of our children learn how to run their own businesses, and they give each other tremendous support.
FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF A LIFELONG ATHLETE, AND NOW A FATHER, HOW HAVE YOUTH SPORTS CHANGED SINCE YOU WERE A CHILD?
Growing up in New Jersey playing sports at a young age and seeing how youth sports are today, I can say that when I was growing up, you did not have a lot of different programs to keep youth athletes ascending compared to nowadays where there are several different ways and opportunities for those who interact in youth sports to become better throughout the season. A parent can now pick and choose the best option to get their child help to become better in the sport they desire to play.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER PARENTS ON INTRODUCING A PARTICULAR SPORT, AND FINDING THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOUR CHILD?
Just go with the sport that the child shows interest in. If you are trying to introduce a different sport, first just play the sport for fun so the child can get familiar with the sport, then bring them to play the sport with other children, and then show over the top support for them while they are playing the sport. Finding the right fit for your child when it comes to sports is easy to me. If you just let the child go with what they like doing and let them enjoy the sport instead of making it about winning and losing, then your child will be great at whatever sport they play because it is something they actually want to do rather then being forced to do something that they do not like.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD PARENTS BEGIN TO LOOK FOR ADDITIONAL TRAINING FOR DEVELOPMENT IN SPORTS THEY CHOOSE?
I would say it really does not matter the age that a child is when a parent wants to get additional training. To me, the time to start additional training is when a child athlete shows separation from the others that they are on a team with. So when a child athlete shows that they can do more then others or they are controlling their movements in sports and show more knowledge of sports than others, then it’s time to start looking for additional help for development.
THERE ARE SO MANY OPTIONS FOR ADDITIONAL TRAINING AROUND THE HOUSTON AREA. CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE ON WHERE A PARENT SHOULD BEGIN THEIR RESEARCH?
First search around to see where others get additional training, then look at the development that the trainer’s previous clients have gone through on a year to year basis. I say a year to year basis because developing skills, techniques, and overall performance takes time, effort,and most of all consistency, so a year would give a parent a good perspective on if that trainer is a good fit to help development in their child.
WE ALL KNOW THE BENEFITS OF BEING A PART OF A TEAM AND THE IMPORTANCE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU LEARNED THROUGH YOUR ATHLETIC CAREER? AND, THROUGH SEEING YOUR CHILDREN DEVELOP AS YOUNG ATHLETES?
One of the biggest things that I learned through sports is patience and discipline, and learning how to roll with the punches. When I say learning to roll with the punches, I mean that in sports anything can happen in a matter of seconds and you must react properly to give yourself the best outcome. I have learned through sports that life is more about how you react and respond to things than it is about the things that have been done to you. These are somethings I see my children learning as well, and it is not just coming from me, it’s coming from the teams that they play on, so it allows them to see it from a different perspective rather than getting it from me. The biggest thing that I learned from sports and see my children learning through sports is networking with others. I learned at a late age that networking is key, but being able to see my children networking with other players from other areas and seeing them talk to other coaches are early stages of the networkingabilities which will come in handy throughout their lives.
ANY ADVICE ON HOW TO PREVENT “BURN OUT,” DEALING WITH A “BAD” COACH, OR THE SIDELINE PARENT?
As a coach and as a parent, I do not let my children or the children I coach in sports ever forget that at the end of the day this is just a game, and to never hang their head low because of something that happened within that sport. Allow youth athletes to have more fun than anything while still learning. Do not try to make everything about the sport a child plays–let them have their down time from it unless it’s what they choose to do with their free time. When it comes to a bad coach, if you feel that the coach is having a hard time, then as a parent you should try to help out more to take some pressure off the coach’s shoulders,but if the coach is being an all-around bad coach, then as a parent you have to decide if it’s still a fit for you to stay.
SHARE ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE. FEEL FREE TO TALK ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS, ETC.
When children play sports it gives them an edge over those children that do not play sports in most situations. They learn they are a part of something bigger than themselves and take on whatever role they are asked to play in order to be apart of the team. With understanding that, children learn a lot of different characteristics about themselves. This is where they learn if they really like playing sports or not, and if they do not like playing sports, they just might like interacting in a different way with the world of sports. With my training business, now we go through every angle for a athlete to become a top tier athlete, but on the other side, we train the mind for after sports.We teach athletes and non-athletes how to network and become someone behind the scenes of sports. Teaching a football player how to be a financial advisor before going to college will only give them a leg up once at college.
Learn more about Darius and his program at:
- Facebook: T4E TRAIN4EXCELLENCE
- Instagram: @TRAIN4EXCELLENCE
- Twitter: TRAIN4EXCELLENCE
- YouTube Channel: T4E TRAIN4EXCELLENCE
- Website: www.Train4excellence.pro