One of the things we always asked our kids after the game or track meet “what did you learn”? This tip I highly recommend, ask your student athlete after every practice, game or event, what did they learn. You may be surprised.
As parents and coaches we are always in a constant state of learning, and those who want to coach or parent at their highest level hopefully are always seeking. I gave a presentation last week in my networking group and one of the things that hit me while preparing for what I was going to talk about is that, as an athlete, I live my life as if I have an itchy sweater on because as an athlete I think, and approach life a little different than the non-athlete.
We live with a constant thought about winning, not winning the game, but winning in the big picture. Winning where it counts most, in life. But in order to win, we have to constantly be seeking, and when we seek, we learn.
So my question to parents, coaches and athletes is what are you learning?
A parent of one of my pitching clients sent me a wonderful email this week that really reminded me that my purpose is to help those in the student athlete world to be able to answer the question of “what did you learn today”, by responding with, “a lot”.
As a transformational coach, I accept the responsibility along with the parents, that we have a huge responsibility and as Joe Ehrmann points out, “because there is not a more flawed measure of a child’s value than sports. The playing fields are uneven; genetics skew the results in favor of the proper body type for each sport; dedication and determination can do only so much. And yet some parents and coaches use performance as the measure of a child’s worth”.
So again, I ask the question, what are you and more importantly, what is the student athlete learning? The rotary has what they call the 4-way test: Is it the truth, Is it fair to all concern, Will it build goodwill and better friendships and Will it be beneficial to all concerned. Use this test as a measuring stick for your student athlete and answer the question, are they learning and practicing behavior that will help them be truthful to themselves and their teammates, are they learning about fairness, and sometimes unfairness, are they learning skills to build goodwill and better friendships, even with people that they may not otherwise hang out with but for they ended up on the same team, and are they learning to play whatever role the team needs and do whatever it takes for the good of the team.
The most important thing we can learn if we are in youth sports is that our student athletes deserve to be coached by Transformational coaches. I understand that winning feels great, going to PGF is a great goal, but to quote Joe Ehrmann again, transactional coaching can beat up young people and break them down so profoundly that they barely recover as adults. I have witnessed this first hand.
What I have learned is that Transformational Coaches are “other-centered” people who use their power and platform to nurture and transform their players!