Often we’re swamped with paperwork, scheduling and practice plans. It’s common to be so determined to get those completed we lose track of what’s most important, our players. Remember what it was like when you played? Sure the game may have changed, but two distractions never will, doubt and anxiety. I know you have a sense when you see it in what your players say and do before a big game. Are you ready to help them through it?
Players face many challenges throughout their career, non greater than the questions that race through their minds creating doubt and anxiety. How can they deal with it all? Should they avoid them, push them back, only to face them another day?
Often the questions listed below can keep a player from achieving their dream and realizing how good they can become. There will always be questions along the way. Some remind players to get back on track, while others place doubt in their mind over their dedication, ability, determination or lack of it.
Let’s take a look at some questions players face:
WHY DO I PLAY? After a tough practice, preseason conditioning, injury or a heart breaking loss it’s natural to ask this question. Why subject yourself to such punishment and despair? Is it worth it? Take a moment and visit those special memories you created with teammates and the positive moments shared along the way. It only takes a few to let you know why you play.
DO I HAVE WHAT IT TAKES? As you progress from high school to college you find out quickly that your skill is matched or below your teammates and opponents. Are you as good as you can be? Have you honestly pushed yourself? Probably not yet, so just be determined to improve every day. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. You know the answer, but are you really willing?
IF NOT TODAY WHEN? It’s easy to put things off until tomorrow. Champions refuse to do that. They understand that today is a gift for learning and improving. Tomorrow will have its own set of challenges to face. Don’t let yourself off the hook today by putting something off that should be worked on today. Look it in the eye, accomplish it and move on, you’ll be glad you did.
HAVE EXCUSES BECOME PART OF MY DAY? Have you ever caught yourself telling a teammate or coach you just didn’t feel good when in actuality there was nothing wrong? How about with an activity or skill that you didn’t feel comfortable with? Putting yourself in game situations on the practice field which are new and make you uncomfortable allows you to grow. Did you make an excuse to avoid it? Once you get started on an excuse path it gets easier and easier. Stay disciplined, avoid excuses and embrace tough situations.
CAN I LOOK IN THE MIRROR? At the end of the day can you stand in front of the mirror and be proud of your efforts? It has nothing to do with winning and losing. It has everything to do with you giving an honest effort for yourself and your teammates. Only you can give a true assessment of your dedication and determination. One person we can never fool is ourselves.
WHAT IF I MAKE A MISTAKE? Mistakes are part of any game. By dwelling on this question and worrying about who’s watching, you highlight it and make it bigger than it is. If it’s the only thing you see during a game, guess what? Mistakes will come your way. Great players make mistakes, but what they see is the reward and what can be accomplished past the mistakes. Focus on what you can control, your effort, not mistakes.
WHO CAN I TURN TO? Without someone to share your thoughts and feelings, they suddenly consume every thought you have. Find a teammate or friend who will take the time to listen. They may not have any answers, and that’s okay. Just by sharing them you’ll be able to release some of the added pressure you were feeling. Great friends never quickly judge and understand you may not be seeking solutions.
WHO AM I HURTING? Mainly yourself. By always carrying around negative thoughts and questions you inhibit your ability to play your best and be a good teammate. You also impact your team, and is that fair to those who work just as hard and deserve your best? Change your mindset and tackle every situation and challenge with passion and enthusiasm. It’s how you grow.
HOW CAN I AVOID DOUBT/FEAR/ANXIETY? Not sure you can totally, but you can certainly reduce it. See yourself in shining moments where you make the perfect pass, big save, game winning goal, etc. Draw from all the past successes in your career. When your image and mindset focuses more on what you’ve accomplished and who and what you can become, doubt, fear and anxiety become smaller and smaller. Eventually those thoughts and questions will fade away.
HOW DO I GET BACK THE PASSION I HAD AS A LITTLE KID? No reason you can’t, but understand you’ve grown into a new person and player. Everyone thinks back to those days when we ran around the field freely with a love for the game. It brought us to where we are today. Keep those memories close and remember you have new responsibilities for yourself and your teammates. Go ahead and embrace the game the way you did back then. It’s up to you.
Questions allow your players to grow. It’s their conscious asking, “Are you where you want to be, doing what you love, giving all you have, and being the person and player you are capable of?” The challenge is to not dwell on the questions, but to answer them and move on. Players will always be the only one who knows if they answered them truthfully. When they do it frees them up to play again with the passion they did as a kid.
I wish you the best in reminding them how strong they really are!
The losses will linger, and wake you up at night. The wins leave like the wind.
The first day with your new team will be a memory of a lifetime!
Planning for practice will be a joy.
A parent will confront you after a big win, only to complain about playing time for their child.
Teaching the game will come so easy, because of your passion.
Seeing the players “get it” will be rewarding.
Your field will be a mess and only be ready when you put in extra time to make it so.
Watching a player’s reaction after that first big win is priceless.
When a player thanks you for something you did, means everything.
A hateful email or text message will question your ability as a coach.
Attending Clinics and Seminars to expand your knowledge is fun.
Talking with your fellow coaches about trends and new ideas.
Your best player won’t be eligible because of failing grades.
Smelling the grass, seeing the crowd, warming up your team, all very special.
Your team being acknowledged by the officials as being very respectful.
Your prospective players end up playing for another team.
Going to camp with your team!! Memories of a lifetime!
Taking your team on a High Ropes Course!
The referee stops the game, threatens to end it unless you walk across and quiet unruly fans.
Seeing your players other talents on a talent show night! So much fun!
Sharing some life lessons before and or after practice.
An unsigned letter arrives in the mail, I think you know what it says.
Guiding players through difficult times in their lives.
Learning to compromise over things that really don’t matter.
No one will thank you for a job well done, its expected.
Picture day will be a challenge, but remember the players love it.
Senior Night, a special night for those who’ve given up so much for the team.
The hours are tremendously long, late nights, weekends, frustrating practices, and not much pay.
Former players getting together on Alumni Night, the hugs and thanks…………..
Seeing former players coaching………………………………………
Can you handle those who are against you? Even if it’s some of your players
ARE YOU REALLY PREPARED TO COACH?
I hope so, because it’s one of the most rewarding careers in the world. The joy of helping young people succeed on and off the field is something you can’t put a price on. So much of coaching has nothing to do with technique, tactics, conditioning, etc. but comes down to communication, caring, responsibility, understanding, and the ability to not be distracted by those who are not in your corner. We as coaches must always do what’s best for our players, and as the games begin, what’s best for our team.
I wish you the best, and remember, the great times, and how you influence your players will always outweigh the negatives. Stay true to what you believe in, and success will follow.
We can be overwhelmed with 105 traits of leadership, 85 attributes of a great leader, 44 essentials of being a leader, and so forth. It can be confusing and overwhelming. So let’s keep it simple, and think about these questions:
“What would your foundation for leadership look like?”
“What would support everything you expect a leader to be and allow you to be effective over a long period of time?”
Our foundation for leadership at Wiser Sports Leadership is based on five main principles: Character and Integrity as the cornerstones, and Positive Outlook, Enthusiasm, and Confidence completing the row. We believe these principles will allow you to build your career as a leader in any field.
Character- What type of person are you? Are you able to rally your employees or team around a cause? Are you genuine? How do you react in times of crisis? Are you able to stay calm and in control when your team or employees look to you for guidance? Your character as a leader will ultimately be the deciding factor for how your employees feel about the company or team they work or play for. They want to work or play for someone they can count on and who stands up and supports them when times are tough.
When we think of someone with character, we often think of our parents. Can you think of others you have met or been associated with who’ve had strong character? What made you think of them?
Positive Outlook- Are you positive in most everything you do and say? Employees or players hear enough negative messages through family, and all forms of media, so they need someone who can inspire them through positive, uplifting messages throughout the day. It makes them glad to come to work or practice in a positive frame of mind ready to get the job done and do anything for you.
Can you remember someone in your life that always seemed to have a positive outlook? How did they act? Why do you think they were so positive?
Enthusiasm- Do you believe in what you’re doing, selling, coaching, or the company you work for? Do you have a burning passion for what you’re doing? If so, it’s not hard to be enthusiastic. Genuine enthusiasm shines through when you can’t wait to get to work or the field. Remember your employees or players are a reflection of you and your actions. Enthusiasm will multiply and grow based on how you act and present yourself to those around you.
Have you met someone who seemed very passionate about their work or a cause they were working on? Have you thought, “Wow, I wish I could be like that!”?
Confidence- As a leader, any and all decisions you make must be based on the confidence that they’re the right ones with respect to your employees, players and the company. In all situations, transmit a demeanor of confidence in everything you do. Employees and players want to work and play for someone who’s strong, confident and willing to make sound decisions.
Would you say confidence is learned through experience of different situations, or is a part of someone’s personality? We often hear the statement, “They’re a natural leader.”
Integrity- Along with your character, the most important part of the foundation of leadership is integrity. Your decisions must be based on morals and values that are sound and that never jeopardize the company’s or team’s reputation or good standing. Never allow short cuts, deadlines, individual needs or wants to compromise your beliefs. Take a stand when pressed into situations that are uncomfortable for you and that you don’t feel are right. Leaving a job is certainly an option if you don’t believe what you’re being asked to do is legal or ethical. Your reputation is worth more than that.
Invest time in exploring what a company or organization stands for and what they believe in before joining them. How would you handle a situation where you were asked to do something that compromised your beliefs or values?
At some point in your career, especially if you’ve been loyal to the company or organization, you’ll be asked to be a leader in some capacity. Whether you accept that position or not is a personal choice. If you do accept it, then the decision becomes what type of leader you want to be.
We know the best start is to use the five principles listed here as a foundation for your successful career as a leader.
We want to work with you, your team and organization to achieve your goals.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
I wish you and your organization or team the best!