#042 Off the Pitch with Active: 3 Teens impacting youth sport

This is a world first youth sport podcast episode with 3 teens, 2 girls and 1 boy. It is always adults who tell us what kids & Teens want in sport, but how about speaking to them directly and listen to what they have to say.

In this episode, I have found 2 amazing 15 & 16 year old girls from here in Adelaide, Australia and a 16 year old boy from New Jersey, USA.

We are kicking off with Brandon Shintani, Brandon is a student at Ridgewood High School, in New Jersey and is the Sports and Wellness Columnist for his high school paper and much more.

After Brandon, I like to introduce you to Lucy Benn. Lucy is in year 11 and we will discuss her findings in her SACE project. She asks, “What are the psychological reasons girls leave sport?”

My last teen age guest is Emily Gail, it is an old recording never released, but it is perfect for this episode. Emily was 15 when I spoke to her, and she refereed U18 boys’ soccer. She also plays soccer and Futsal.

She is now 18 and I have seen her referee seniors, she still plays both soccer and Futsal. If you are a girl aspiring to play a sport, or you are a parent with a girl who wants to play sport, this is a brilliant ending to this episode.

So, sit down grab a coffee, enjoy, and learn something new starting with Brandon.


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75:30   min episode

01:40   Brief intro of the 3 teens

03:15   Brandon Shintani’s brief background

04:45   Welcoming Brandon and he talks about when he started and what he is doing.

08:15   Brandon “Honestly I only played sport to have fun and make friends” He also said he have friends playing on a very high level.

12:20   How is Brandon’s parents supporting him in sport, but he also had support outside his family.

15:45   Major injury stopped his sport at 15-Where is support now when motivation was so hard to find?

23:00   Some great mindful advice from Brandon and final thoughts

28:50   Wrapping up with Brandon


29:55   Introducing Lucy and she talks about her start in sport around 2-3 years of age playing with her older brothers😉.

30:30   Lucy explain her school research project of why girls quit sport.

34:55   How did other girls in her school respond to her questions. Take note on the response.

38:28   Lucy gives great advice to us parents.

39:10   Body image and impact in sport.

44:00   School & sport balance

48:30   I asked Lucy how she feel about parents yelling and how it impacts her performance.

53:20   Suggestions on how to fix the issue and to make it more fun.


60:15   Introducing Emily and we chat about her involvement in sport as a referee and player.

63:00   Challenging moments for a teenage referee

Brandon Shintani

Brandon is a student at Ridgewood High School, in New Jersey and is the Sports and Wellness Columnist for his high school paper. He is also the founder of “Mind-Design Sports”. It is a platform for relevant topics in sport psychology, blogs, podcasts, and an opportunity to participate in their unique mentorship program.

Topics include Self-Talk, Boosting Confidence, and Pre-Game Mental Techniques.

A keen learner of all things practical, Brandon highly recommends the National Geographic series "Brain Games" for a better understanding of psychology in everyday life. In his spare time, Brandon enjoys playing basketball, traveling, and finding ways to promote health and wellness to kids and teens throughout the world.

Connect with Brandon:

Web:  https://www.mind-designsports.org

Email: MindDesignSports@gmail.com

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/mind-design-sports/

Twitter https://twitter.com/MindDesignSport

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/mind_design_sports/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-wRM7I4lTCYcdLuNwrGYQg/videos

Scroll down to read how Brandon managed a major injury


Lucy Benn

Lucy is a year 11 student with a passion for soccer. She played in 2 main clubs in Adelaide as well as school and she has also represented South Australia in the Nationals while being in Yr 9.

She is working on a very important SACE school project which is very close to my heart. Analysing the psychological factors of why girls leave sport.

Download Lucy's report for free now

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Emily Gale

Emily is inspiring in this interview. She was 15 years old at the time and passionate about soccer and futsal. She playe both and referee both soccer and futsal.



By Brandon Shintani & Peyton Leigh, Mind-Design-Sports

My name is Peyton Leigh, and I am a distance runner from New Zealand. My experience as a teenager in sports can be told through my injury back in 2019. Around March of this year, I discovered that I had a growth plate injury on my hip bone, called Iliac Apophysitis. This meant that my growth plates were still open, and were susceptible to inflammation from the load of my running. The frustrating thing about this injury was that there was nothing I could do but wait for the inflammation to reduce. In total, I was out of running for around 7 months. Over this time came a lot of learning and patience. I spent most of my spare time in the gym, swimming, and cross-training in order to stay fit and strong, and to strengthen the muscles around my hips in order to reduce the chance that the injury would come back before my growth plates closed.

My name is Brandon Shintani, and I also suffered a serious injury in 2019. While playing a game of basketball, I fell hard and landed on my knee. This was the second time it had happened but this time the pain was excruciating and the bone literally popped out of place. It turned out I had Patellar subluxation, which is a dislocation of the knee cap. I had to undergo surgery to put in a replacement and was unable to walk or even stand for weeks afterwards. The pain that first week after surgery was unbearable and besides the physical issue, it was extremely frustrating and even depressing to not be able to be active and independent. After a while I was able to move around with crutches and a leg cast and then underwent intense physical therapy for almost half a year. Although I was eager to get back on the court, my doctor cautioned against moving too quickly before my knee was properly healed and strong enough for intense activity.

The most important things that we learned through our injuries can be summed up in a few points.

  1. Never give up: An injury is only a minor setback, and with the right mindset you will always find yourself back to normal as long as you stay patient.
  2. Use the lessons learnt from rehabilitation as a future implementation in your training: Through my injury, I (Peyton) learnt the importance of gym work. Before my injury, I never felt the need to go to the gym on top of my running. However, my injury rehab taught me that getting stronger is one of the most important aspects of keeping injury free, and creating a stronger and more stable body. I (Brandon) learned how important my nutrition and diet was. I understood that I could not exercise and stay in shape so I had to be in peak condition through the food I put in my body. This was one of the largest lessons I learned and continue to eat well whenever I can, injured or not.
  3. Enjoy the time off the sport: Sports can be a stressful time, and sometimes injuries can be a reflection of this stress, and an indicator telling you that you and your body need this break, so enjoy it! Go out and spend time with your friends. Do things you wouldn’t be able to do usually because you will be a lot less busy with less training.

When you are able to run or play ball again, make sure to gradually get back into it, starting with a reduced training routine, and working your  way back up. This is another key point in injuries which is not often considered. Many athletes like to get straight back into how they used to train, as they are dying to get back into what they used to do. This can lead to further injuries from increasing the training load too quickly once given the all clear. Patience is key when getting back into your sport after being injured.

Often in times like this when athletes are injured, it can be common to feel depressed or have anxiety. The most important thing to remember is that there is always a silver lining. Injuries are always chances to learn more about your body, and once you can start seeing the good come out of bad situations, you grow as a person and can become more successful. Nobody reaches success without having some sort of failure.

If you are an athlete or person that’s interested in sports, check out Mind-Design Sports : https://www.mind-designsports.org/. Our organization aims to promote psychology and mental health in the context of sports for teens and kids. We provide blog posts, podcasts, social media posts and we have a connection program for young athletes looking for an older mentor who is also a high school athlete.