Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Giving Everything Your ALL

I write about sports a lot, mainly because it's a big part of our lives. Currently we are playing soccer. It's funny to me how many life lessons can be learned through sports alone, and parents who don't sign their kids up for sports- they are missing out!
Recently I started rock climbing again at the YMCA. I haven't climbed in over a decade, so it's as if I'm doing it for the first time. On a couple of difficult climbs, I got a really good picture of "mind over matter." It's amazing how much our thinking affects our ability to do things. About halfway up, I started telling myself, "I don't think I can do this..." And had I let myself continue that way of thinking, of course, I wouldn't have been able to make it.
I decided to take it one handhold at a time, and not give up until I fell. And guess what...I made it. I realized that the worst that could happen is I would fall. As I said, "Of course you can do this...not much further...grab onto the next handhold, and if you fall you fall..." I kept moving upward. And eventually I was there.
How often do we see kids give up before they get "there"?
I am coaching my daughter's U6 soccer team. I am not coaching because no one else wanted to, which is often what happens. I am coaching because I love teaching, I love kids, and I love seeing those little victories every time a kid gets something. We practice three times per week, but the kids only have to come to two practices if they want. Most kids have come to every practice. It's amazing how much kids learn when you teach them. I give coaching my all, because if I didn't I'd be wasting their time and mine. And I expect them to give me their all as well.
This partnership pays off! Unfortunately, the opposite is true. If coaches don't put their all into coaching, the kids won't either. They won't know what they're doing, and they won't pursue excellence in what they do because they don't know what excellence is. We tell kids to try their best all the time, yet the examples we show are often far short of our best. How can kids say, "I can do it!" when they don't know what "it" is?
If you find yourself in the, "I'm coaching because no one else would..." spot, don't give it less than your best. The kids deserve better, and all it takes is learning about the sport and sharing what you've learned. You never know, you might love the sport in the end!

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