Coaching isn’t easy and if you are a coach, you probably picked one of the most difficult jobs; it’s physically and mentally difficult. Not only do you have to teach athletes how to be physically successful, each athlete you encounter has an entirely different way they learn. So what worked for one athlete, may not work for another. Just when you think you have figured it out, you haven’t.
Every athlete has different personalties, talent, work ethics, beliefs, values, and confidence. Some athletes have little talent, but work harder than anyone. Others have an abundance of talent, but can’t seem to reach their full potential. There are also athletes who want don’t want to act out, but they don’t have the emotional tools to cope. The athlete that has the talent, work ethic, confidence, and mindset is not easy to find, and well, anyone can coach an athlete like that.
It is easy to take the “perfect” athlete and coach them. Coaching this type of athlete is easy because, a coach just has to make sure they don’t mess it up. Everyone wants these types of athletes, because it brings visions of fame and fortune. Fame and fortune is nice, but what about the rest of the athletes?
Coaches come in contact with thousands of athletes throughout their career. Most of these athletes don’t become Olympic or World champs, National Team members, College athletes, or even high level athletes, yet the impact a coach can make can last a lifetime.
To me, success is measured by change and not destination. Success is teaching an athlete to believe in themselves, and watching them go from a child with no self-esteem to an adult who is the President of a Bank. Success is teaching an athlete to overcome fear, and watching them go from a child who cowers from fear to an adult who started their own business. Success is teaching an athlete to be compassionate, and watching them go from a frustrated behavioral problem to an adult who is a wonderful father of two little girls.
An athlete may want to work, overcome their fears, have confidence, a great attitude, and succeed, but they may not know how to get there. Not all athletes are born knowing how to win, but they show up to every practice, they try, they work. They want it, they just may be going about it the wrong way.
Every athlete is placed in a coach’s hands with the understanding that it won’t be easy. It is up to the coach to figure out what makes the athlete work and teach them how to work. It is up to the coach to learn why athletes have fears, act out, get frustrated, give up, talk back, roll their eyes, or storm off. The athletes that seem to be the most difficult to coach are probably the ones that need their coach the most.
You are a coach; coach them, love them. Teach them how to listen, how to work, how to overcome their fears, how to believe in themselves, and how to be a successful adult. Let them know that no matter what you will be there for them, let them know they are so important to you that you will never walk away, let them know they can make mistakes and you will be there to help them, and let them know that when they fall, you will be there to pick them up.
I was that difficult athlete. I didn’t know how to control my emotions, but my coaches taught me. I wanted to be fearless. I wanted to believe in myself, I just didn’t know how, but my coaches never gave up on me. I am the mother, wife, and mental coach that I am today because my coaches. I was an Olympian because they believed in me and I won a medal, because I learned how to believe in myself.
Coaching is without a doubt difficult, emotional, and there will be times when you want to walk away. Don’t! The most difficult athletes may turn out to be your best success. They may not act like they care, nor that they need you, but trust me, they do.