“Bloom where you’re planted” and lots of other clichés (“when life hands you lemons, make lemonade”) are created to help people deal with the fact they’re not where they want to be in life.
Now I’m not naïve enough to think that every student-athlete that I coach has dreamed of attending my institution since they were little tykes. I know that most, if not all, of them would love to play at Big Time State University if they could. They’d get all sorts of gear, they’d be on television every weekend, they’d be big-timers.
You might be in another situation. Maybe a player thought they’d make Varsity and only made JV, or they thought they’d make the “1” team and ended up on the “2”…whatever it is, we’ve got to get them fired up about moving forward rather than looking back.
4 tips we can give our athletes to refocus their goals and have measurable success
- Don’t make general plans. Saying, “I want to start” or “I want our team to win conference” isn’t a specific goal. Instead of vague, “I just want to help the team” type goals, let’s focus them on figuring out how they can get better every day. I know of some coaches who have their athletes fill out a goal sheet at the end of each practice. They set a mini goal and then write down whether or not they accomplished that goal.
- Award incremental positives. Goals are hard enough to accomplish without waiting until you’re standing on the championship podium! If the player has been able to string a bunch of great games together, be sure to give her a pat on the back. If she wins a smaller award, like all-tournament team, be sure to make it a big deal. Being good is hard, being good over a long period of time is a lot harder…celebrate small victories.
- Read. So many times, our athletes are only focused on reading for classwork…it’s rare for them to read for fun during the school year. That’s why I read a book with my team each year. Reading it as a team helps each person to carry the load of the book, because they sign up for chapters and are then responsible for teaching their teammates the content. Picking books that will make them better leaders, players, or help them overcome a mental barrier has been critical to helping my athletes be successful.
- Don’t wait for something to happen to you. A few years ago, there was a book that made the “Law of Attraction” popular. The Law said that if you thought about something enough and had enough positive thoughts about it…whatever the thing was that you really wanted would come to fruition. Those of us who live in the real world understand that good things don’t just happen, we’ve got to hustle for them. It’s a great lesson to teach our athletes. If they want amazing things to happen in their lives, hard work and success have a reciprocal relationship.
The idea for this post came to me after reading A Checklist for Measuring Your Success on Huffington Post. As the clichés have a fun way of telling us, we have the ability to take life’s disappointments and turn them into opportunities.
Click here and you can get Coach Dawn Writes articles emailed directly to your inbox! It’s free and easy…and I promise I won’t give your email to anyone else.