Your interpretation, Vicky, is understandable, but incorrect in this situation. Many people, adults and kids, suffer the common syndrome "holding back...working within themselves...fear of failure/succes." I have seen my kids happy--they are happiest when they've laid themselves on the line and achieved something worthwhile, viz., laying themselves on the line. That is what my quoted words intend. I want, like most parents, to see my kids happy. Rudyard Kipling's "If" spring to mind, Herman Hesse's indictment of "the brood of medicrity" etc.
PS: my "child" does not train alone. She trains with me, my wife and my other two children; many cousins float in and out, she trains with them too; she trained with other cousins in USA is April; she also plays hockey, netball, TT, swims, sea canoes, climbs mountains and doesn't pick fights with angry people on the internet; she also has sporty friends who join in when so inclined.
You suggest you "know a lot about running." I won't flame that comment--it speaks volumes for itself--but I will indicate to the board that you know nothing about my daughters and son.
I decided...to join a training group that emphasises ...development ...as individuals (it's a small enough group for this to be possible)
Crucial point IMPISH37. Well intentioned coaches often have 10 - 20 kids running, night impossible to do what's right for one kid in the bunch. We saw much 'competiton to win the rep session, exceed the tempo pace, etc.' The particular kid's past week, year, day, all affect training--coaches with so many simply don't have the time or often the opportunity to digest this mountain of info from 10+ kids. The psychology of so many compounds the problem. Hope your kid is enjoying what you have commendably chosen for him.
“What I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity.”