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How To Make Your Athletes Brave

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

"The thing about being BRAVE is it doesn't come with the absence of fear and hurt. Bravery is the ability to look fear and hurt in the face and say move aside, you are in the way."

- Melissa Tumino

Coaches Corner: Teaching youth athletes to be Brave.

In sports, youth and experience athletes alike can develop a fear of competing. Be it fear of failure, fear of physicality, or fear of physical injury, athletes will shy away from their competitive mindset when fear develops.

Instead of telling your athletes that they need to be tougher, more aggressive, and/or grittier, tell them they need to be BRAVE.

Tips for developing brave athletes:

1. Define what it takes to be brave (in their sport). This includes effort, hustle, toughness, and being aggressive.

2. Allow them to be vulnerable, work with them to identify what they are afraid of. If they can define it, they can find ways to overcome it.

3. Challenge and Praise. Run drills with increasing levels of challenge. Highlight and praise the things that they do well and fit within your definition of bravery.

4. Culture, create a culture within your program to give athletes a sense of purpose and meaning. If they don’t have a reason to be brave, they won’t be motivated to display courage.

5. Role Models, point out real-life role models. For youth sports, this can be as simple as pointing out an athlete who plays on the high school team.

6. Encourage athletes to reach out to those in need. If an athlete is struggling, encourage other athletes to reach out and help.

7. Remind them that their performance doesn’t define them, their attitude and character do.

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