I emphasize the little victories with things the kids can control. Once that goal has been accomplished we celebrate it like they just won the Superbowl and I immediately give them a new goal. To me accomplishing a tangible goal within a kid’s control is infinitely more exciting and productive than winning the Superbowl. The Superbowl victory is just a pleasant outcome for athletes who have set and achieved many little goals they can control throughout their life.
Set and Achieve Many Little Goals
When the athletes accomplish little goals, when they are not afraid to fail so they try to do something they do not think they can do, the results are life-changing. For example:
A 14-year-old girl started with the program at the beginning of the winter; we will call her Michelle. Michelle is very much a perfectionist, is her own worst critic and is afraid to try new things because she does not want to fail. This is true with school, sports and life in general. One of my goals for her was to get her comfortable trying new things with the understanding she may fail, but she may succeed. Either outcome was fine! About 6 weeks in Michelle is getting ready to do a dumbbell chest press. She grabs 30 pound weights (yes 30!). I asked her:
“How much did you use the last time?”
Nervously, “30 pounds.”
“How many did you do?”
“How many are we doing today?”
“Maybe try 35 pounds?”
There is a look of sheer terror on her face as she envisions all of her friends watch her drop a 35 pound weight on her face. She is off to the ER and her friends spend the next 40 years of her life pointing and laughing at her deformed nose.
“How about if I spot you?”
Hesitantly she grabs the weights, I help her establish form on the first rep and she goes to work. Not only does she do 12, they are clean and look pretty effortless to the casual observer.
Michelle stands up, spent but smiling saying, “That really wasn’t that bad!”
Ask her friends, “How much weight WAS that?”
And she replies, “35 pounds!” Not only are her friends not making fun of a deformity, they are now talking about how strong she is. Michelle’s confidence soars!
All this from one set of dumbbell chest press? Maybe? But when it becomes a pattern of success, yes!
Pattern of Success
As a coach I have an awesome responsibility. I set the environment, the tone and the expectations. I set the right one, and not only am I helping to develop strength I am helping develop confidence, self-respect and a sense of identity. This pattern of success can be life changing and applied to everything the kids do in school, sports, and life. I set an unfavorable environment, and I also have great potential to change a kids life.
Parent’s teachers, coaches, have you had a similar experience with the kids you work with? Please comment below. And please send this to someone who might need a little encouragement to start setting goals and seeing their own pattern of success.