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How To Cultivate An Athlete To Grow

Treat a person as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat him as what he could be, and he will become what he should be.

- Jimmy Johnson

From a coaches standpoint, there is nothing better than seeing an athlete find the love, motivation, and confidence to play and compete. It’s like a light bulb that is turned on. You see the change in attitude, confidence, and willingness to improve.

Here are some keys for coaches to help develop athletes:

a. Highlight their strengths. Remind your athletes of what they already do well.

b. If you see their potential, let them know. Help create an athlete’s roadmap by identifying areas they can strengthen so they the can strive toward that goal.

c. Teach patience. When attempting a new skill, the knee jerk reaction is to just say, “I can’t do it.” Help create a mindset of finishing that thought with YET.....I can’t do it, yet! (Referenced from Dr Carol Dweck)

d. Help your athletes set long term goals and short term benchmarks. Improvement doesn’t happen overnight. Remind your athletes of the little steps they need to take to improve.

e. Affirm team values by walking the walk. For example, if one of your values is to show respect for self and others, show it.

f. Each team is unique so remember to set standards and expectations that meet their needs, and be consistent. If a student athlete lets her/his grades slide, don’t slide on your standards by continuing to let them practice and play.

g. Teach athletes ownership. Give them choices and let them be accountable for their actions.

h. Celebrate their successes. Whether they are big or small, take time to notice and celebrate your athlete’s accomplishments.

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