It’s been a crazy year full of lots of challenges! But even in the midst of the craziness and all the challenges presented, I still feel as though it was a productive year because of the things I’ve learned along the way. These lessons help me to grow as a person and as a coach. I would like to share these lessons and insights to end this year and start the new year with a clean slate.
Before I share these lessons, I need to preface it by explaining a technique I use with the athletes I work with on how to turn any loss into a victory, or how to turn a challenging situation into one where they can learn and grow from it.
At the end of every game, at the end of every season, and/or after a setback or challenge, I have them ask themselves these three magic questions:
When used religiously and answered objectively without blame, these three questions can change how they view defeat…… or honestly, how anyone can grow from a loss. This is an important skill to master because it changes our mindset and perspective when faced with disappointment or challenges. It teaches to objectively evaluate the past in order to learn from it to become better. To not view ourselves as a victim of our circumstances, but as someone who has the power to change what’s needed and accept what can’t be changed.
Big Lesson #1: COVID provided a clear distinction between champions and wanna-be’s.
Throughout the Pandemic, I have heard more “Victim” thinking than I have ever heard previously. True, we are in a pandemic. But, surprisingly, the pandemic was not bad for all athletes. Actually, quite the opposite. Some found the opportunity for extreme growth. These individuals did not feel sorry for themselves at all and they made a commitment to a training schedule that they would have never been able to accomplish before, if not for COVID.
So, how were these athletes able to excel…
Big Lesson #2: You, the parents, helped to make the difference!
In every situation where the child athlete took advantage of their downtime during covid, the parents were actively involved. The amount of support and encouragement from parents was directly related to the level of improvement in each child. The support they provided came in the form of providing structure and new routines, accountability, engagement in their lives, actively listening, and getting creative to help their child continue to improve. (one parent even set up an obstacle course in their backyard so their child could continue to work on their skills since he was not having regular team practices.)
The athletes who excelled were training up to 8 hrs a day. None were spending time playing video games and watching TV. Their parents helped hold them accountable to train according to the schedule they set for themselves.
These athletes saw this time as an opportunity to pass their competitors and their parent’s helped them to make it happen. The parent's attitude made a difference in the level of growth for the athletes. You are their rock!
I have been truly inspired by these athletes and their parents who are using this time to grow into a higher level of athlete both mentally and physically.
As I close out this year I want to say it has been a challenging year for all of us in many ways. Unfortunately, the challenges aren’t going to suddenly disappear when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. Challenges and change are part of life. Changing our perspective on how we view these challenges by making it a learning experience, helps to create mental toughness and resilience.
It's our job to teach our kids how to be resilient--to see that new goals can replace goals that have become unattainable, to help them see that there is a future beyond the current situation and to work towards creating the future they want, and to help them learn about themselves by asking the three magic questions.
Happy New Year!
Jeff Miner and the rest of the TPI Team
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