Athlete: Are you a High Maintenance Player?

As an athlete, part of being responsible means learning everything your coach is teaching to you and applying it during games.  This also involves keeping yourself mentally ready to continually apply what you’ve learned.

Good job, Geraline!

It’s okay, Geraline!

Coach, was I supposed to run through on that play?

Coach, was I supposed to switch on that defense?

Keep your head up, Geral!

Don’t quit, Geral!

Above are some of the questions I have asked, and some of the things my coaches have said to me to boost my performance in various games.  At one time or another in my career, I was asking too many of those questions, and requiring my coaches to make too many of those type statements.  During those times, I felt like I needed constant praise, motivation, and guidance from my coaches in order for me to play well.

Those times clearly showed that I was once a high maintenance athlete.

Like a lot of players, I didn’t realize that game time is when your coaches strategically use what they have taught you, to win against competitors.  It is not the time to teach you what you should already know.  Therefore, explaining to you what you should be doing, and constantly trying to find ways to boost your self-esteem is not an efficient use of their time and energy.  It interferes with their focus which is to concentrate on how to defeat the opposing team.

Over time, I learned that the players that play the most, and the most desirable, are those who don’t require so much of their coaches’ attention.   They are the athletes that have a never give up attitude, and they learn what they need to know and execute it without making many mistakes. These athletes can be trusted to not give up when their team is behind, and they will give their all without having to be constantly encouraged to do so.

Therefore, I encourage you to become a desirable athlete by finding ways to motivate yourself. Learn what is required of you by your coaches during team practices.  Realize that sometimes it is necessary for you to take time outside of practice to learn what you need to do for competition.

Exercising these principles will help you become ready to compete physically and mentally without relying so heavily on your coaches.

How to do you stay motivated?

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Athlete: A Team Divided will Fall!

One of the roles of your coach and teammates is to push you to become better.  Healthy competition among each other creates opportunities for each of you to grow in athletic skills and performance outside of regular competition with team opponents.

It’s not personal, it’s for the team.

From my last post, I told you about the meeting with my coach after my first season at UAB.  Recall he said,

“I’m going to be honest with you.  I really don’t think that you are going to be a major factor on the team next year.  You see, we’ve got some really good players coming in next year and they are playing at the level you are playing at right now.”

 Then he said, “You might play a little, but I doubt you play at all.”

When I left that meeting, my coach and teammates, the future and present ones at the time, became my enemies.  They all became my enemies.

My thoughts were,

Shoot, don’t nobody care about me.  He don’t care about me.  If he did he wouldn’t replace me like that.

I became determined not to make it easy for anyone to take my spot.  I couldn’t care about them anymore.  Which meant, I wasn’t going to help them.

So, the next season, my sophomore year, I stopped smiling and hanging with anyone who was a part of my team.  As far as I was concerned, I had to take care of me.  So, everything became about me.

Me!  Me! Me! Me! Me!

I became more of an athlete with a selfish attitude then a teammate out for the good of my team.  I was concerned only for me and not for the needs or feelings of others.  Most of my actions were concentrated on pleasing myself, sometimes at the expense of others.  My main objective was to show everybody, especially my coach and teammates that I could play.

I had taken my coach’s efforts as personal attacks on my ability to play.  However, he was just trying to motivate me to improve, to become a better player by introducing the thought of competition.

It worked from an individual standpoint.  I improved.  But, from a team’s perspective, a selfish player weakens the team.

Why?

Because it becomes two sets of goals – selfish player’s goals and then the team’s goals.  A team divided most likely will fall.  The selfish player is a part of the weak link.

I encourage you to become an unselfish teammate by setting your mind on what is best for your team; allowing your teammates to be in the spotlight; helping your teammates when you can; being considerate of your teammates’ differences; allowing your teammates to have an opinion; and being eager to listen and follow your coaches’ instructions.

What is the last thing you helped your teammate to do?

Let me know at Athlete’s Voice to Integrity (geralinelhandsome.com)

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Letters to College Athletes in Team Sports: Relationships

By Geraline L. Handsome

 

(Photo credit:  http://www.pexel.com)

You are in your college years and this is the time of your life where you are trying to discover who you really are. Part of discovering your identity is finding out what personal attributes you need to develop that will make you the best you in college and beyond, and getting rid of those that would hinder you.

Image your final game in college. The horn sounds ending the last second of the last quarter of your college career. Now, your teammates and coaches no longer have to, or want to, talk to you. Feel the emotional and physical disconnect from you. That was my reality when my college athletic career ended. There was no longer a connection to my teammates or coaches.

Why did this happen?

I had failed to develop or cultivate a relationship with them.
One of the reasons was because the attitude of honoring and respecting people, including my coaches, was not a part of my identity.

When I entered college on a basketball scholarship, I left an environment where undesirable situations had occurred in my life and people who were in authority over me had let me down.

Unbeknownst to me, I had developed an attitude of mistrust and disrespect toward them. It was to the point where I believed some of them did not know what they were doing. I was inwardly rebellious, only accepting to do what was required of me if I agreed with it, or based on consequences.

It was a way of thinking I had developed to survive. Unfortunately, that part of me was not going to help me succeed. I had to get rid of that part of my identity.

However, I had no idea what it meant to honor and respect people in authority.

I had to learn that it meant more than saying ‘yes ma’am, no ma’am’ or ‘yes sir, no sir’ to them. It is an attitude.

I had to learn that it meant to understand what they require and do it without resistance.
I had to realize that they have the power delegated to them to govern or manage the things affecting my life whether or not I liked them or agreed with them.

For instance, my coaches were the experts on basketball, and therefore, had major influence on my ability to play the sport. They had the knowledge and expertise to make me a better athlete or the power to end my career.

I encourage you to cultivate and maintain healthy relationships with people in authority by honoring and respecting them. As student athletes, begin exercising principles associated with this attitude, with your coaches. Begin by honoring them by giving what they require of you. Respect them by recognizing they have knowledge that will guide your athletic career.

Believe it or not you will have people like your coaches, in authority over you, for many years to come. Begin making this attitude a part of your identity so you will succeed and gain good relationships.