The longer I continue to coach, the more I appreciate a positive outlook, attitude and approach to whatever curveball the game throws at you. I think above all else, more than coaching and more than playing parents play into that role so much more than you think. What kind of picture are you painting? what impact does it make on how you handle adversity? So many these days don’t recognize chances to learn and grow through failure, so many are scared to bring attention to themselves that they play nervous and predictable, and you work had to ingrain that creativity element back into their hardwiring. We as members of this intense social media era, a time where we feel we need to justify or rationalize every misstep along the way, lose sight in the value of the experience. The first thing I try to get a cross to current, potential, former etc. players is this: I will make plenty of mistakes and bad decisions, I am not perfect, you can guarantee you won’t like every coach you have the same and will think some are unfair, some will have favorites, some will be biased, some will have no idea what there doing and your going to have a chip on your shoulder… but you can take that in and go one of two ways- etc but how you react to that adversity is what defines you as a player… you can feel bad for yourself, call your coach an idiot, point fingers, complain, blame everyone else, pout, tell the world why you got a bad shake and find comfort in passing the accountability on someone else…. OR… you can be like the best players i’ve ever had- not worry about stacking yourself up against others on the totem pole, not try to find your value in someone elses opinion, not feeling the need to bring attention to yourself to feel a sense of importance, but instead… you can work so hard, commit 100% to doing what you can do and what you can control individually to get better. You can completely commit to what you want without thinking about failure as an option. How bad do you want it? every good athlete is scared of not meeting their mark- but they don’t quit, they don’t let the surroundings limit themselves and what they ultimately want to accomplish. As a result of all this- you can be so good your coach has no choice but to play you, no choice but to see you and see what positive elements you bring to the table… is what your doing making everyone else around you better? are you setting that bar high enough not only for you but for the rest of the team to strive after? leave no doubt, if it’s truly what YOU want- not what your parents want, friends want, something that you like the idea of or what looks good… then you won’t settle, because you can’t. Great players are able to do all these things, not overnight, but over time- and you can’t really coach that, it’s something you either have in your heart or you don’t, but coaches see that as an X factor to building a strong team, your impact doesn’t just end with you, but it carries over and flows into the rest of the team. That’s what I really appreciate more and more everyday… leave no doubt.
By far the most satisfying moments I will look back and remember years down the road will have nothing to do with games we won, but days like today when I’m running a few min late from work and they’re already organized and well into their warmup activities. These girls aren’t 16… Their 11 and 12… Everyone wants to win, everybody wants to play a lot, everybody wants to score goals and be the hero. What little things are you committed to doing that nobody else is willing to do? thinks about doing? It all adds up. Not because it’s important to mommy or daddy or your coach… but because it matters to you.