Part 4 of Who am I
When discussing interests and enthusiasm with my athletes I often ask for a school class/subject that they do not enjoy. I may hear things like math, or english, or even chemistry. My next question to them is why don’t you like this class/subject? The common answer I get is that “it has nothing to with my major.” Looking deeper into this answer it becomes easy to see that they are completely uninterested in the material covered in this class/subject because of the role or lack thereof that it may play in their future. If you are uninterested in a class/subject how likely are you going to focus, pay attention, work hard, etc.? Your choice to get lost in a day dream, or doodle on your note pad, or do enough to pass is solely based on the interest you have in the subject.
When defining who we are, which is a direct result of the choices we make, the interest we have greatly influence our choices. As a coach, if you lack the interest to improve, you never pick up a book or attend a conference. If an athlete is only interested in getting better as an individual, they will never choose to ask another player to do skill work. Can you begin to see how these interests effect who we are? Would the coach be considered an inspirational leader who instills life-long learning into their training? Would we consider the athlete to be a great leader?
So, the big question then is, when working with athletes, how do I create interest in (fill in the blank)? For me it is weight training and conditioning. For you it could be leadership, skills development, growth, or even the sport (youth coaches). The key is in the activities we design and the experiences we create. We have all seen the 8 year old soccer practice where there are 2 balls, and a long single file line while working on shooting. Another great one is in baseball, where you have everyone in their position in the field and 1 person is taking batting practice. What kinds of experiences are being created for these athletes? Why would they become interested in the sport and make the choice to continue playing? Change the activities around so that they become fun, experimental, challenging, and have a lot of involvement and the interest in the sport drastically changes.
For me, creating the experience begins as soon as they walk in my building. Todd Durkin, famous fitness professional and motivational speaker, said it best when he stated that you need to create WOW in your program if you want to attain success (I will discuss creating WOW in a future blog post). We stimulate the senses right off the bat. From the look of the facility, music we play, and to the hands on approach we have with are athletes, we strive to create an experience the athlete will never forget and one that they always want to be a part of.
For us, athlete knowledge development is another instrumental factor in creating interest. A majority of our athletes know very little when it comes to weight training or conditioning as it relates to their sport. It is important to note here that the knowledge one possesses will influence their interests. We have found that the more the athlete knows with regards to why they are doing what they are doing, the greater the interest level, enthusiasm, effort, and attendance. Detailed work out cards, low coach to athlete ratios, equipment availability, and our personalities all factor in to creating WOW or interest. As a coach, you also have to get to know your athletes. What makes them tick? What interests me, may not interest somebody else. Communicate, talk with them to see what they like and dislike. Also, when coaching, learning styles can be completely different so we must be cognizant of this or groups of people may be left in the dark and feel uninterested in the subject/sport(Coaching and Learning Styles will also be a future blog post).
Again, who are you? Take a look at what interests you. This will affect the choices you make that define who you are. If you see that change is needed, determine who you want to be by analyzing what factors influence the choices you make.
The final blog of the series, Who Am I?, will look into the role personalities play in self-awareness and the choices we make.
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