Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines skills as a developed ability, whereas abilities can be defined as a natural or acquired skill. So what are my abilities and/or skills? What am I capable of doing that can aid in the accomplishment of something?
The choices I select on a daily basis are not only determined by my knowledge but also by the skills and abilities I possess. If my skill/ability set, in relationship to the task, is very high, then my choices will have greater variety. Once again with great variety in choices, one must make the most appropriate decisions as directed by specific goals. If you then combine an enhanced knowledge base with a large skill /ability set, effective youth sports teachers (coined in The Importance of the Effective Youth Sports Teacher by Coach Brad) are forming. Why just forming and not developed? To truly begin to reach the effective youth sports teacher distinction, interests and personality also play a role in the choices I make which define who I am as it relates to self-awareness and me as a leader.
Continuing with my example as a collegiate baseball player, I would like to look at the role my skills and abilities had on my choices. After my first year as a red-shirt pitcher, I remember sitting in my coach’s office for our post season wrap-up meeting and hearing the words, you may not make this team next year. So, I took this as my skills were not good enough to play at this level and that if I want to play, I have to get better. My choices coming out of this meeting were to either work harder or quit. Quitting was never an option so my only choice then was to work harder. What would my choices have been if my skill set as a player were better? Do I get to play summer ball in a collegiate league where the coaching staff of collegiate assistants can help me further my career?
After spending 3 years improving my game, I finally achieved my first goal set as a freshman – to become a starter in the rotation. With this role, my leadership opportunities grew. The only leadership skills/abilities I had developed were related to effort. With this low level of skills/abilities related to leadership my only choice was to continue with what I knew was successful – work hard and hope people follow. What choices would I have had if we had leadership training during the previous 3 years of my athletic play? If I have had greater choices how many more people could I have affected?
Why do most coaches only focus on the game related (technical) skills? Yogi Berra stated it best when he said the game of baseball is 90% mental and the other half is physical. How often are you as a coach working on the mental skills related to the game? What is your knowledge base and skills/abilities related to the mental approach to the game? Remember your choices will be affected by both of these. To create a more rounded athlete, read, learn, and develop a higher skill/ability set.
My next post will touch on the last 2 components of self-awareness which are your interests and your personality.
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