ON A Mission...
As with many things in life, good fortune and luck played a part in the creation of the institute. The founders were introduced by a mutual friend on a professional blind date to help on a potential youth development project. Although they came from different backgrounds (academia, coaching, consulting) they were united in their love of sport.
They saw there was an opportunity to take Perry’s academic research about the neuroscience of the teenage brain in sport and combine it with Kami’s expertise in organisational culture. They had both watched their kids from the side-lines and seen well-intentioned coaches using very different approaches to varying levels of success. Some building skill and confidence, other coaches squeezing the pleasure out of the sport and, occasionally, driving kids to the point of tears in pursuit of a win. They knew from research and experience that although there were pockets of great practice, there was inconsistency in approach happening in every sport - from grass roots to elite. They believed there was a growing pool of scientific knowledge that could inform a better, evidence based approach to youth development.
Over the course of numerous conversations over countless cups of coffee, the idea for the Institute was hatched. Rather than becoming a specialist psychologist working directly with players who may have a “problem”, they thought the bigger potential was to embed this knowledge about the teenage brain into all aspects of the young players development. The opportunity wasn’t just about “fixing” psychological issues that stops players winning but instead it was about fulfilling everyone’s potential as a player and a person.
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Dr. Perry Walters
Perry believes many of his key life lessons were as a teenager on Sunday mornings playing on the football pitches of South Bristol.
Although sport and education took him away from his home town, Perry returned to do his PhD in Educational Neuroscience with a focus on the teenage brain and sport.
Today he combines his love of sport and learning with one foot in academia as a Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Bristol and one foot outside coaching young players (and coaches).
One of Kami’s proudest achievements as a young boy was teaching his Iranian Dad about cricket – the rules, the rituals and the players.
In his professional life he has continued to be focused on culture, advising global organisations on issues of people and purpose.
He works with policy makers and senior leaders in organisations as diverse as the UN, HSBC and the WWF.