Back to school...
Growing up and playing sports meant that August was spent doing conditioning drills in the gym getting ready for the fall sports season. The start of school was often an afterthought because as a fall season athlete, I showed up at school every day beginning a month before classes started. The sound of sneakers screeching on a hardwood floor still reminds me of the line drills we ran. Looking back on that time, I wish I knew what I know now about building a strong foundation and how that leads to success in the future. At the time, my thoughts were all about when this pain was going to stop.
The pivot in thinking is an important one, but one that I did not make until much later in life. Was it my fault for not grasping this concept as a teenager or was it our coach's fault for not explaining it in a way my developing brain could understand? I suspect it was a combination of both. But as coaches, we need to bear the brunt of this responsibility. Communication with our athletes is crucial to the success of the individual and the team. We can talk all we want, but unless our athletes comprehend the message, we have failed. It may take repetition, it may take hearing it echoed by the other coaches, and it may take trying something new altogether.
Most of the time we do things the way we were shown. We teach the way we were taught. We coach the way we were coached. And while I know we try to emulate the best, we have also picked up some of the less desirable traits from our examples in life. If you are not getting through to your athletes, it might be time to evaluate your approach.
Our athletes should feel the burn of pre-season conditioning, but they should also be able to look at pre-season conditioning with a growth mindset and understand how building that foundation now unlocks the possibility for success in the future.
We are here to help coaches help their athletes. If you would like to talk further about any of this, send up a message, and let's chat.