I’ve been a little sick to my stomach since 1:45 pm Saturday afternoon.
I had just finished up a Mindset Performance Workshop with a group of young athletes and was talking an athlete and her parents. I noticed during the workshop that this young 14 year old was upset.
I found out that earlier that week, her coach mentally and emotionally tore her down. He threw an object at her (not a heavy or hard one, but that’s not the point), and yelled at her.
I won’t go into details because I did not get permission to do so, however it is important for me to share what I shared with her about “How to deal with difficult coaches”. It is also important for me to share with coaches a key idea I recently learned that is helping me become the coach I always wished I had.
Realize that a coach's actions are a reflection of THEM, not you
This girl clearly thought something was wrong with HER. Otherwise she would not have been so devastated and emotionally crushed by this coach.
“Am I not good enough?”
“Am I not smart enough to understand what he wants from me?”
“Why can’t I figure this out? What’s wrong with me?”
Athlete...anytime your coach responds or acts out of anger and frustration, it is something wrong with THEM.
I do not say this to put down any coaches. I say it to protect our athletes. I say it so that our athletes understand a basic human principle.
OUR ACTIONS AND HABITS ARE A PRODUCT OF THE WAY WE THINK AND THE WAY WE SEE THE WORLD.
If my wife and I are supposed to have dinner reservations at 8 pm and I want to leave by 7:30 pm and she isn’t ready in time, what I do or say next is a reflection of ME, it has nothing to do with her.
If I respond impatiently, fire a sarcastic or rude remark at her, or stomp around in anger and frustration, it shows that I have some work to do on myself. I need to become more patient, kind, understanding, loving.
Athlete, you must work hard everyday to become a better version of yourself. BUT, never let a coach’s negativity, anger, or frustrations get into your heart. A coach has no right to make you feel bad about yourself, do not let that happen.
If you want to be the kind of coach you always wished YOU had growing up...a kind, loving, caring, inspirational, influential, impactful coach...STOP trying to change your HABITS and ACTIONS.
Your habits and actions come from a deeper, tougher-but-not-impossible place to change.
They come from your Character. The kind of person you are.
You need to go to work on your character first.
What are the things you need to change about yourself?
I am going to be vulnerable with you for a moment, please don’t judge.
For me, I need to work on the part of my character that has the tendency to place expectations on people and situations. When I do this, and people or situations do not “live up” to those expectations I place on them, what do you think the result is?
I become frustrated. Impatient. Those feelings clog up my ability to seek understanding of that person and their situation. They overpower the desire I have to connect and relate with the athletes I coach. Impatience and frustration make me an ugly coach. The kind of coach I resented growing up. Those feelings make it about ME, rather than about helping that athlete grow and develop. Those feelings lead to actions that tear an athlete down rather than build them up. Those actions lead to a young 14 year old athlete QUITTING THE SPORT THEY USED TO LOVE. And the result of that decision could negatively affect the next four years, and possibly even the rest of that young athletes life.
So, what are you going to do, coach? Are you going to stay the same? Refuse to change?
Or will you go to work on your character and positively impact the lives of dozens, hundreds, thousands, or possibly millions of young men and women through athletics?
We have a choice. The choice we make at PFP is to be Mentor-Leaders: to become the kind
of coach we always wished we had growing up.
Join our vision and make that change. Be a mentor-leader today.
As for you, athlete, seek first to understand. Understand that your coach is not perfect. Understand that his/her actions are not a reflection of your value as a person or athlete.
Let’s all go to work from the inside out today. Improving our character is the best way to help the people around us.
Dedicated to a positive sports transformation,