Pictures and Bio

Available Soon!
Little Athletes Big Leaders

Bruce played his first ever football game at the age of twenty and went on to an outstanding academic and athletic experience at Acadia University (BA (hon) MA) and a 13 year professional football career in the CFL and XFL. Bruce was a 3 time CFL All Star and won two Grey Cups with the Edmonton Eskimos as well as an XFL championship with the Los Angeles Xtreme. Bruce is the coauthor of The Truth About Success, My Rules, Enduring Principles of Leadership and 38 Lessons Learned in Professional Football, and most recently, Little Athletes Big Leaders – Effective Sport Parenting. Bruce has done extensive leadership training work and executive coaching for national and international organizations such as Michelin, National Bank Financial, Tim Horton’s, Grant Thornton, the Department of Justice and the Department of Education. Bruce lives in Kentville, Nova Scotia with his wife Michele and his two children Layla and Sam.

Pictures to Download

Walking Away from Football in 2005
(24 MB)

Original Picture from Front of Book
(22 MB)

Bruce Beaton headshot (2 MB)
Book Cover (900 KB)
2003 Grey Cup.JPG (55 KB)
2005 CFL championship.bmp (801 KB)
BW Head Shot.JPG (801 KB)
Family after game (1.5 MB)
BruceBeatonHeadshot2.jpg (863 KB)
BW Nature Picture with Kids (1.3 MB)
Retired in NS.JPG (34 KB)

Suggested Topics for Discussion:

  • Sport Leadership: Should we expect more?
  • Raising Leaders through Organized Sport: Is this programming important?
  • The Four Core Leadership Principles and how organized sport addresses them.
  • Positive Leadership Programming for Athletes: Are we getting it Right? What are we really teaching in the car?
  • The Most Important Leadership Minute in the Day for Sport Parents: Do we know what we’re doing?
  • The Magic Ratio: Don’t force your kid to “divorce” you later.
  • The 10,000 Hour “Rule”: Is this research relevant?
  • Long Time Perspective: If this is the single most important socioeconomic differentiator, why don’t we teach it to our kids?
  • Creating a “Growth” Mindset: This one small shift will change your child’s life forever.
  • The Daily Improvement Rule: The no stress route to greatness.
  • Skill Development is Brain Work: Why the Daily Improvement Rule works.

Suggested Questions Page:

  1. Why did you write this book?
  2. What do you mean when you say sport parents can have it all?
  3. Is there a big difference between youth sport and professional sport?
  4. Do you think that overall we do a good job as parents and coaches in youth sport?
  5. What are the 3 most important minutes in the day for sport parents?
  6. What is the magic ratio for parents and coaches?
  7. What is the “growth mindset” and why is it so important for creating leaders?
  8. What is “Long Time Perspective and the 10,000 hour rule?
  9. Why do you say the best competitors in the world use the most number of deep sleeps?
  10. Why do you say skill development is brain work and not body work?
  11. What is your bottom line criteria on whether someone is an effective sport parent or not?
  12. Where can parents who want to raise great athletes and great leaders go to learn more?

Book Reviews

“My son, Ethan, is only 4, but he is already OBSESSED with sports. All sports.  He is constantly asking us to kick the soccer ball with him, or to throw him the baseball in the back yard, or he’s pretending to play hockey in the living room.  If you ask him what sport he wants to play when he grows up, he immediately rattles off a list of about 10 different sports.  Thankfully, he seems to have inherited his dad’s natural athletic ability rather than mine (mine is non-existent).  So, I think we are going to have a lot of games and practices in our future, and I’m really glad to have the book Little Athletes, Big Leaders to help me. Here’s a bit about this book:

You can teach your child to succeed in every venture they ever attempt, and ensure they maximize their athletic potential, and create and maintain a long term loving relationship with your child, and have an absolute blast during your sport parenting years!

Break free from the belief that youth sport is about either “winning” or “fairness”.

The truth is, the youth sport experience is really about teaching “mastery”, it’s about individual and collective goal setting, it’s about developing interpersonal skills (which are the #1 predictor of leadership effectiveness), it’s about learning from mentors, it’s about controlling what you can and letting the rest go, and it’s about action….and not action once in a while…it’s about action every day!

I think this book is an absolute must-read for any family with young athletes. It offers great ideas for how to motivate and encourage and help your child succeed.  I appreciated the author’s insights- the book is written by Bruce Beaton, a Canadian Football League All-Star and two-time Grey Cup winner.  He’s got years of sports experience and in this book shares what he learned in his own life.  It gave me a lot to think about and consider for the future. I will definitely be putting this book on my shelf to read again when Ethan starts playing organized sports (probably in just a few months!) and I know it’s going to be a valuable tool for me.”


Little Athletes, Big Leaders: Effective Sport Parenting is written by 3-Time Canadian Football League All-Star, Bruce Beaton, and is honestly one of the best books I have read on the topic of how parents can help their children succeed at youth sports.

You may be wondering what my authority is to make such a decidedly positive statement about the quality of this book, so I’ll share a bit about my experience when it comes to kids and sports: With my oldest son (K) being only five years old, I don’t have much experience with sports from a parental standpoint; however, prior to completing a bachelor degree in Education, I earned an Bachelor of Human Kinetics degree from UBC with a specialization in Physical Education (this means I’ve studied sports psychology, child development, and principles of athletic training when it comes to children and teens). I played rugby competitively in my late teens and, during my years as a teacher, I coached middle-school volleyball and floor hockey. Thus, I feel qualified to effectively review Bruce Beaton’s book in light of my background and training in youth athletics.

My Review:
There are many things I love about this book, but what I love most is the important message that Bruce communicates to parents is the role they should play when it comes to their child’s athletic pursuits. Too many times (in both coaching and in my teaching career), I have seen parents act in ways that they think are helpful, but are actually detrimental in the long run. Little Athletes, Big Leaders explains the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ of helping your child succeed and what the ultimate goal of sports participation should be. At the same time, there are parents who are approaching their child’s activities with the right attitude and this book will help those parents discover even more ideas for instilling enthusiasm when it comes to mastering skills. The book is written in an easy-to-read format and is full of practical tips that are based on solid research and insights from those who have been involved in the world of professional sports.

So, do I recommend purchasing Little Athletes, Big Leaders?
If you have a child who plays sports, if you hope your child will play sports, if you are a coach, if you want to be a coach, or if you simply want an excellent resource in helping to develop leadership traits in your children, then read this book. Seriously, you will be inspired!

(With Christmas coming, Little Athletes, Big Leaders would make the perfect stocking stuffer for the Hockey Mom or Soccer Dad in your life!)”


“Imagine never having played  a particular sport until age 20.

And then working hard and mastering skills so that over the course of the next decade and a half, you’ve progressed enough to play in the professional league of your sport AND win a couple of Grey Cup championships, along with being named a league all-star player…not once, but 3 times?

It really is an incredible story.


This is the story of  my fellow Acadia University graduate Bruce Beaton.

Bruce and I both started Acadia University in 1986, and over the course of my studies there, or rather, my social life there, I had the pleasure of meeting Bruce as a young football player.

He joined the Acadia Axemen Football team….having never played the sport before…but the coach saw potential in him and gave him  a chance.

We used to call him the “Gentle Giant” because although he was 6″5″ and around 300 pounds, he was kind and thoughtful and had a very gentle manner about him.

He was well liked and respected by everyone who knew him.

Although Bruce and I left Acadia at different times, me to a full-time job and family,  and he to pursue his football career….I always followed his career through the media and marveled at what he had accomplished in his football career.

Bruce is now retired from the pros, and lives in my home community in Nova Scotia with his wife, Michele and 2 young children.

He is a very dedicated husband and father….he cherishes his wife & children above all else.

And he has recently written a book called,”Little Athletes, Big Leaders”.

I had the privilege of receiving a signed copy from Bruce and I am so excited to be able to share my thoughts about his book here at Echoes of Laughter.

In this book,  Bruce has tackled the topic of effective sport parenting….giving advice and well thought out strategies and suggestions on how we, as parents of children in organized sport, can support, encourage and nourish our children as they participate in sport.

His message is child-centered….he explains in very clear ways how parents can create a family culture that supports the child as they grow in their sport.

Once I started reading this book…I found it hard to put down.

It has so much great information and so many inspirational quotes.

Little Athletes, Big Leaders is not only an incredible book on sport parenting, but an amazing book on the subject of well-rounded parenting as well.

I think that many of the strategies & methods that Bruce suggests would be useful in supporting your child in any endeavour…not just in sport.

It is full of advice that every parent should bring to the ‘game’ of parenting EVERY.SINGLE. DAY.

He has gathered solid evidence from the fields of sports psychology, science, sociology, and business management on how to create a positive environment for your child to thrive in while learning to work at and give effort to the task at hand.

I love how he suggests that parents focus on the approach to the game and NOT the results of the game.

And he stresses how the approach to the game is everything… the effort, daily work, the fun and the camaraderie of teammates…those are the lessons that our children take away and apply to their everyday life for years to come.

This book does an amazing job of empowering parents to make informed decisions about how to direct and support their child in a positive and loving manner that will yield a lifetime of happy results.

I think this is a book that every parent should have on their book shelf to read and refer to often as they guide their young children along in sport.

To learn more about how you can get a copy of this empowering book, please click here.


As parents, my husband and I have been very lucky in the fact that both of our children have been very passionate about their chosen sport at a young age.

Our daughter, Hunter, was 4 years old when she came to me and expressed her desire to ‘learn to skate and twirl in a dress’. We enrolled her in CanSkate’s Learn-to-Skate program and she has been skating ever since. She’s now 15 years old.

{To read more about my daughter’s passion for skating, click here.}

She has progressed through the figure skating testing stream- passing over 20 different skating tests to finally reach the ‘gold level’. It has been a personal goal of hers for a number of years now to pass her gold level tests…. one of the highest levels a skater can attain.

She also participated in the sport of synchronized skating for 6 years…skating on 11 different teams at various levels.

She was fortunate enough to have had the experience of skating at the  Canadian Synchronized Skating Nationals…twice.

And let me qualify here by saying I have no background in the world of skating whatsoever.

None. Zilcho. I can’t even skate.

But I have spent hundreds of hours at arenas over the last 10 years supporting my daughter in her love of skating.

For the 2010-2011 season, my daughter was on ice 10+ hours per week…not including off-ice practice, while maintaining honours at school and tutoring 4 elementary children weekly in french reading.

{I marvel at the time management skills she has learned at this young age!}

I  have attended and watched every practice and every competition she has skated in, except for the last season when she, as a 14 yr. old, wanted more independence from Mom.

For years, I was the Mom who drove other girls to practice. I seldom went to practice with less than 2 skaters in my car. Many, many times I had 4 skaters in my car…driving to practice at 6-something in the morning in the coldest of weather.

And I always stood by the rink boards to watch my daughter skate.

To me, she was so beautiful to watch.

The only advice I ever gave to Hunter was to work hard, try her best and have fun. That’s all I  ever asked of her.

However, I have been in the dressing room and rink side when I have heard other parents make disparaging remarks about other skaters. And I have heard parents make critical comments to their children which always took my breath away and made me feel crushed for that child.

I wish I could give a copy of this book to every parent out there who has a child in organized sport.

It takes a village, right?

In my opinion, Bruce has given the village an amazing message to share!”



Little Athletes Big Leaders is for parents who want to raise successful, happy, responsible children — children with the skills to lead themselves and others forward to a brighter future, and for parents who feel that organized sport can be an important contributor to that long term goal.

Little Athletes is also for parents who want to raise children with the “winning mindset” sought after in sport at the professional level.

The truth is BOTH of these objectives can be reached simultaneously through effective parental reinforcement.

Why? Because the youth sport experience is not about a choice between “winning” and “fairness”. It’s an educational experience ripe with teachable moments that reinforce excellence and dedication and resolve and determination. The youth sport experience is really about teaching “mastery”, it’s about individual and collective goal setting, it’s about developing interpersonal skills (which are the #1 predictor of leadership effectiveness), it’s about learning from mentors, it’s about controlling what you can and letting the rest go, and it’s about action….and not action once in a while…it’s about action every day!

Press Releases

Available Soon!
Little Athletes Big Leaders

Attention Sport Parents!
You Really Can Have it All!

You can teach your child to succeed in every venture they ever attempt, and ensure they maximize their athletic potential, and create and maintain a long term loving relationship with your child, and have an absolute blast during your sport parenting years!

Break free from the belief that youth sport is about either “winning” or “fairness”.

The truth is, the youth sport experience is really about teaching “mastery”, it’s about individual and collective goal setting, it’s about developing interpersonal skills (which are the #1 predictor of leadership effectiveness), it’s about learning from mentors, it’s about controlling what you can and letting the rest go, and it’s about action….and not action once in a while…it’s about action every day!

This is a book that’s impossible to put down, but not meant to be consumed at once. I’ve spent a lifetime researching sports issues. I’ve never come across such a treasure chest. Really impressive.”

– Ron MacLean, Hockey Night in Canada

But be warned! You cannot, and will not, even come close to maximizing the benefits of the youth sport experience unless you learn the critical skills, the insights, and the small, but significant little adjustments you’ll have to make as a parent. You’ll enjoy learning how to help your child maximize their potential in the sport and also learn to become a huge success in any endeavour outside the sport. You’re already investing a lot in the youth sport experience: you are paying registration fees, buying sports gear, traveling to practices and games, sitting through practices and games, and of course, caring so much and loving so deeply! Why not take it one small step further, and learn the simple tips and skills that will help you guide your child to success in their chosen sport and in real life.

I just want to let you know, I can’t put your book down and I continue to re-read many parts. Although, I have been doing some of the concepts you suggested I now have an opportunity to take what I know to another level and most importantly be more intentional about my actions. I still have so much to learn as a parent and a person. My heart was actually racing as I read through some of your pages and I can’t get enough of what you were writing and discussing. Thank you so much for putting together such a practical and valuable piece of reading and learning. Parenting is not easy and yet it is the most important thing I (we) will ever embark on and I love it. I liked your views on the levels/stages of development. Grant, my son, is a late bloomer, he was four before he was completely potty trained, he was seven before he biked, he was a later reader, etc. However, once he got it, he got it, and other parts of him are mature beyond his age and have always been that way. I so agree with you, Kids/Adults develop at different levels and so many factors can play into this process. Thanks so much for all your reminders. I so appreciate you taking the time to write this book and sharing your knowledge.

Take care and have a fantastic day,

Bilynda Whyting, M. Ed

There are brilliant people in the world. I know you know that to be true.

Many of them have made a career out of researching, testing, applying, and teaching social science methods that help ordinary people like you and I become their very best we can be. Very often these wonderful people, with their PhD’s and their brilliant minds and their amazing research teams remain squirreled away in universities all over the world, with the only beneficiaries of their amazing findings being small numbers of academic clusters who are “in the loop”. This is your chance to learn from these special people in a simple and straight forward way.

I LOVED your book!

I’ve been a bit busy so wasn’t able to finish it as quickly as I had hoped, but finished it today.
Nearly every page has something underlined, so for me that means it a good sports book!
LOVED your pick of quotes!

Linda Shaffelburg

Researchers like Dr Carol Dweck, Dr Ross Campbell, Dr John Gottman, Dr Edward Banfield, Dr Anders Andersson, and Richard and Linda Eyre have discovered results orientated life changing tips and insights that are starting to positively impact the lives and approaches of caring, loving, success oriented sport parents all over the world. This book is written for you, the top 1 or 2% of sport parents, the sport parent that wants to raise a happy, positive, success oriented little leader who know what it takes to be great at any endeavour worth doing. Perhaps you even dream of raising a child with the character and skills to change the world if they choose to in these leadership deficient times!

As a former high performance athlete, current high performance coach, and parent to two young children, I feel this book is an invaluable resource to parents who want to raise successful, happy, confident children, both in sport and also far beyond sport!

Cindy Tye

These parenting tools are highly effective, the research is sound, and the concepts are easy to grasp and even easier to implement. And the results…well, let’s just say your child really could be the next big thing in sport and the next big thing in business, philanthropy, politics, or anything else they feel passionate about. You will teach them a mindset and set of skills that transfer easily to any other endeavours they choose as well as any other challenges they face.

Thank you so much for sharing your work with me! It was my pleasure to read it! I believe that all of us can benefit from the eloquently written points that you made regarding parenting and leadership! An excellent guide for raising successful children through sport – I highly recommend it!

Roxanne Seaman, PhD

I’m a parent just like you. I have two children and I feel like I know what you’re facing and what you’re feeling. I know you’re crazy busy, and I know what it’s like to love a child so much you can hardly stand it. I know you want to raise a wonderful, happy, successful child, someone who has a great life full of joy and purpose and meaningful friendships and interesting challenges. I also know you want material that is very easy to read, that’s highly motivational and occasionally emotional, and you want a book that also has some great stories and makes you feel good about what you’re trying to accomplish. I believe Little Athletes Big Leaders is all of those things, but it is also an important synthesis of valuable sport parenting information that has never been gathered in a simple, short book before. This information is filtered through the discerning screen of my thirteen year former professional athletic career and current leadership training career. In addition, I am also someone who understands and appreciates good research, as I have an academic background that includes a Masters degree in empirical social research.

If you’re a caring and committed sport parent, and if you believe that parenting is the most important work you’ll ever do, then Little Athletes Big Leaders will change your life. Why not buy it today, and ensure you learn what you need to know to raise a real winner, both in sport and beyond.

This is one of the most influential books I have read, and is highlighted and post-it noted to pieces.

Jim Rohn, Randy Gage, Napoleon Hill are on my shelf and reading list, and Bruce, your book has joined them. I am grateful you followed your passion for growing little kids hearts, by letting us know what you know, through this book.

Thank you,
Debbie Falconer