“In the end, it’s about teaching, and what I always loved about coaching was the practices. Not the games, not the tournaments, not the alumni stuff.
Teaching the players in practice was what coaching was all about to me”
As coaches our job is to teach. In addition to teaching the skill set required to be great at our sport, we must also realize that we are, in fact, teaching life skills. Last year (2017) Club GSL had a direct impact on the lives of over 450 athletes. What and how we teach is very important to the community. Remember this. Your athletes may not “mature” under your watch. You are just a stop on the road in their journey.
“What your kids learn from you will become part of them forever”.
Confidence, commitment, teamwork, goal setting, dealing with loss, overcoming fear, learning to handle pressure and being a gracious winner/loser are a just few of the things your kids will be learning from you. Try to keep in mind that they are always watching you. How you react to stress, pressure, conflict and success are all things that they will be adopting in the future. It’s a sobering thought .
Prepare – We dedicate ourselves to giving 100% effort during practice, both physically and mentally. Preparing mentally is the greater challenge. Teach the kids to stay focused for the entire practice session. Have them practice “meditation” exercises at home where they “visualize” themselves playing the perfect game. Repetition with the proper technique is the key to success.
Trust – Once we enter a game we need to learn to trust in our abilities. We must teach our athletes to trust that they are already good enough to compete. This is where their “inner confidence” will be found. All great athletes have an unshakable confidence in themselves and their abilities. Despite failure, criticism and self-doubt, we need to help our kids realize that they are already great, and being successful is a “State of Mind”, not a result. Win or lose, they are amazing. Help them realize that.
Do – Phil Jackson wrote: “At some point we need to throw ourselves into action”. He uses the word “throw”, I believe, to illustrate the point that once the game starts, our young athletes need to stop thinking and/or worrying about what they don’t know, and just DO what they do know. We must teach our athletes to know that they are prepared, and that the thought process during the game needs to be focused on what the competition is doing, and not what we are doing. The time for self-reflection and improvement is during practice. As we enter the game, our thoughts should turn to our opposition, believing that we are prepared to compete at our highest levels, without “thinking” about it.
One final thought. These young athletes are capable of doing things that we never were. Let's not allow our thoughts, doubts and fears place limits on what they may do. Teach them the fundamental basics and strategies of the game, and then let them adapt their own style within that framework. Believe in your athletes. Win or lose, believe in them.
WARREN VAN SCHALKWYK | Owner | Club GSL