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Understanding the Next Generation of Student-Athletes

By June 10, 2016 October 10th, 2016 No Comments

Great content today from Dr. Tim Elmore on Generation Y and Z, discussing the differences between the generations and what that means for the way we, as athletic staff and educators, engage and communicate with student-athletes of that generation.

Dr. Elmore touched on many interesting points and popular challenges that are coming up more and more with today’s student-athletes, but the key takeaways from this morning’s presentation:

As athletic staff, our role has traditionally been based on supplying and delivering information to student-athletes through lectures, Q&A, we teach, they listen, etc.

Generations Y and Z don’t respond to that style of learning or development.

Student-athletes today do not look to staff members for information, they have information at their fingertips online.

We, as athletic staff and educators, need to become information interpreters.

Support the development of young adults in a way that they respond and relate to the most by understanding each generations defining characteristics.

Dr. Elmore outlined some of Gen. Y and Z’s defining characteristics to help us understand the differences and be better prepared as Generation Z gets to college.

Generation Y: Born 1983-2000 Generation Z: Born 2001 – 2018
Grew up in a time of expansion Grew up in a time of recession
Teen connection: texting Teen connection: social media
First tech gadget: iPod First tech gadget: iPhone
Naïve and nurtured Savvy and cynical
Facebook/Instagram Snapchat/Whispr
Goal w/ media: garner shares Goal w/ social media: disappear
Music: Lady Gaga / Bruno Mars Music: Taylor Swift / Lorde
Style: Narcissistic, I’m awesome Style: Gritty, I will survive
Perspective: Optimism Perspective: Pragmatism
Shaping events: Columbine, Fall of Iron Curtain,, iPod Shaping events: 9/11 Terrorist attacks, economic recession, debt


Generational Legacy Millennials (Gen. Y) Homelanders (Gen. Z)
When they were born 1983-2000 2001-2018
Life Paradigm Life is a cafeteria I’m coping and hoping
Technology Enjoy it Hacker
Attitude to Authority/leaders Choose them Utilize them
View of Future Optimistic FOMO/YOLO


For more information on Generation Y, check out Dr. Tim Elmore’s new book, which discusses the generational dynamics in detail, “Generation iY: Secrets to Connecting with Today’s Teens and Young Adults in a Digital World”.