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Raising Empowered Athletes | Ep. 324 with Kirsten Jones

Have you ever been so angry at a sports coach, program, or situation that you couldn’t wait for a season to be over with…or you wondered how the heck you could have so much anger in your humanly heart about a situation? Or have you ever wondered how/why the “big business” of sport has trickled down all the way to youth athletics? Or have you ever heard the “psycho parent” who is just lighting-up the referee or coach to the point where YOU are actually embarrassed? (please don’t tell me YOU are that parent. ☹). Haha.


You are in for a real treat today. Not only do I address some of these questions (and then some…), I have a fun, nostalgic conversation with Kirsten Jones, a fellow William & Mary alum and Hall-of-Fame volleyball player at the “College of Knowledge” on a topic both near and dear to our hearts today…sports & athletics. And the awesome thing is that Kirsten is not just a Mom of 3 athletes, she’s a best-selling author on the topic, a speaker on the topic of “Empowering Youth Athletes,” and she has a podcast called “Raising Athletes” today. To say she is qualified to speak on the topic is an understatement. And her latest book, “Raising Empowered Athletes—A Youth Sports Parenting Guide for Raising Happy, Brave, and Resilient Kids” might just be her most prolific work yet.


Here are a few of the things Kirsten and I discuss on Ep. 324 of the IMPACT SHOW podcast:

  • We take a trip down memory lane and look back at the good ole days at W&M. The ’80s & 90’s were a different ball game in youth & college sports. So I ask Kirsten to paint a picture of how we’ve moved from seasonal sports and backyard fun to a whopping $20 billion industry that’s predicated on $$$, pressure, and stress? How did we get here?
  • What do the “best” coaches do? What do the “worst” coaches do?
  • I bring up the notion of the “NIL” era and the implications, good & bad. 
  • I discuss and riff on “Is what Deion Sanders doing and saying a good thing for college sports?” Hmmmm….(more to come on this…)
  • I ask her the question about if and when she believes kids should “specialize” in sports.
  • We talk about the crucial “3 F’s” of youth sports.
  • Kirsten talks about what an ’empowered athlete’ looks like and why it’s so important to raise not just strong athletes, but extraordinary individuals… and how to do that.
  • We talk about why she is the one carrying this torch. What’s her story, and why did it have to be her who wrote this game-changing book?
  • How parents can be “crazy” and actually rob kids of the joy of sport and ultimately burn-them-out and make them want to quit their sport at young ages. 
  • Is “failure” in sport good or bad?
  • How and why are these cheating scandals happening in HS & college sports.
  • What’s next for Kristen as an advocate for “Raising Empowered Athletes” at ALL levels and what she’s doing to promote this to parents, coaches, and kids.


Enjoy the episode. I feel like I could do a very deep series on this topic as I’m passionate about it. If you are a parent, coach (at any level), trainer or performance coach, or athlete, I believe you will find great value in this episode. If so, please be sure to share this episode. Additionally, please snap a photo of the episode and tag me and Kirsten Jones. 


IG: @ToddDurkin @kirstenjonescoach @raisingathletespodcast

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Get Kirsten’s new book, “Raising Empowered Athletes.” 

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About Kirsten Jones (Guest): 

Kirsten, a Hall of Fame DI volleyball player from The College of William and Mary in Virginia and fourteen-year NIKE executive, is now a motivational speaker, writer and Peak Performance Coach. Her clients include teen athletes (and their parents), where she helps them learn how to reach their goals and release their limitations. She co-hosts the #RaisingAthletes Podcast with Susie Walton on iTunes, Spotify and anywhere you get your podcasts.

Her new book, (Raising Empowered Athletes: A Youth Sports Parenting Guide for Raising Happy, Brave, and Resilient Kids) helps parents navigate the difficult decisions and extraordinary pressures of today’s youth sports world, and raise young athletes who are confident, resilient, and as successful off the field and in life as they are on the field. 


Please sign up to receive updates & hear the podcast at, @kirstenjonesinc (Facebook and Twitter), or @kirstenjonescoach (Instagram and LinkedIn).

ABOUT Todd Durkin (HOST):

Todd Durkin is one of the world’s leading coaches, trainers, and motivators. It’s no secret why some of the world’s top athletes have trained with him for nearly two decades. He’s a best-selling author, a motivational speaker, and founded the legendary Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA. He currently coaches fellow trainers, coaches, and life-transformers in his Todd Durkin Mastermind group. Here, he mentors and shares his 25-years of wisdom in the industry on business, leadership, marketing, training, and personal growth.

Todd was a coach on the NBC & Netflix show “STRONG.” He’s a previous Jack LaLanne Award winner, a 2-time Trainer of the Year. Todd and his wife Melanie head up the Durkin IMPACT Foundation (501-c-3) that has raised over $250,000 since it started in 2013. 100% of all proceeds go back to kids and families in need.

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