Four words I wanted to hear so deeply from my coaches growing up.
As a young player, like most, I was influenced heavily by my coaches. Sometimes to my dismay -they molded me into the player I am today. Growing up I never had a coach who was very sympathetic. For the most part I am thankful for that, it made me tough, taught me grit, made me who I am today. But a small part in me thinks if I had a coach at a young age that acknowledged when I needed to be picked up, I would have grown into a more confident adult player.
At around the 6th grade level I was a starter and saw good minutes on the floor. Some may say that playing time and awarded leadership on the court says “I believe in you” enough. Actions do speak louder than words, except when something needs to be said and it isn’t.
If you are a coach, I realize it is not your job to cater to the emotions of every individual player. I can’t imagine the type of emotional roller coaster that would turn into for you. But at the same time, your job shouldn’t be easy. Heck, if it is- you are doing it wrong.
It’s important to recognize the age and gender of the players you are overseeing. Players at a higher level, such as college should be capable of managing their own emotions, but that doesn’t mean that they won't ever have a bad practice due to an overwhelming amount of emotions.
It’s kind of like that saying, “see something, say something”. Does something not feel right? Does a player seem to be having an off day? Say something! They might really need their voice to be heard.
From another perspective, if you are a parent, it’s not always easy knowing exactly what your child needs. If you baby them too much with positive words they won’t know how to deal with difficult situations when no one is catering to their emotions.
At the end of the day - no matter how you’re involved, sometimes it’s as simple as paying attention and doing your best to judge the situation and intervene if necessary.
Take the time to get to know your players and read their emotions. Sometimes four simple words such as “I believe in you” could change a players day and help mold their career in the right direction. Some players are blessed with an unruly amount of confidence. It runs in their blood! But not all of us...