As leaders, we have to be conscious what we allow into our minds.
We all know what our players consume matters, but it’s hard for them to see the bigger picture at times.
So it presents the question, “What is our role as a coach?”
It’s difficult to get the message of what we consume matters across to our players. They may not fully draw the connection. So it’s important for us as coaches to explain “why” consuming good things help us as individuals and as a team.
We believe there are five small changes coaches can make, which will have a significant lasting impact.
- Create Safe Spaces.
- Share Positive Messages.
- Warn of the dangers of desensitization.
- Don’t let the acceptance bar get pushed back.
- Stay on the positive side of why.
When creating safe spaces, it’s important to begin with the locker room. As coaches it’s our responsibility for all players to feel comfortable and accpepted. The locker room should be considered a sacred place for all teams members. Anything which would promote violence, negativity, or degrading content should be off limits anywhere considered to be a team setting.
When we share positive messages from outside sources we enhance and validate our own messages. Oftentimes players will hear something we say from another source, and somehow it carries more weight with them. The more we pour positive messages into them, the more often positive behavior will come out of them.
One aspect which cannot be overlooked is warning of the dangers of desensitization. Our athletes don’t think about it often enough, but the mind is the most powerful thing we possess. We all know the lyrics to some of today’s music, the content of the snaps they’re watching, and some of the popular video channels. Social media has an influence over our kids. Many of us grew up in a completely different time period where we didn’t have 24/7 access to negative content. However, we can all recall the mindset we had when we were teens. This is exactly why we should discuss the power of what we feed our minds, and help our kids understand why they have to be careful about what they consume.
Along with warning of desensitization, we must not allow the acceptance bar to get pushed back. It’s a slippery slope. Once we give into the negative, it’s hard to right the ship. It’s possible to hold our ground while still sharing music and videos our kids will enjoy. We must fight for our culture every single day.
It’s essential when explaining our beliefs, vision, and standards to our players that we stay on the positive side of why. As soon as we begin to lecture and talk down to our kids, they tune out us out. Today’s kids want to know why, and as you know they don’t buy into “because I told you so” speeches. However, if we are honest and explain WHY what we feed our mind matters, and WHY it will benefit them in the long run, they will buy in.
Coaches, it’s bigger than the scoreboard. We’re fighting for the hearts and minds of young people.
It may seem like a uphill battle at times, but it’s one worth fighting.
If we don’t do it, who will?
Make sure you check out part two of this blog series next week as we focus on what changes players can make to see a big difference.
P.S. One way you can share your message and reinforce the culture you’re building is through our store. When you subscribe and become a member of our Lead ‘Em Up community you get 10% off all merchandise. Our shirts, stickers, and buttons are great reminders to everyone in your program what you stand for.
Click the image to the left to get your gear today!
Have fun and #LeadEmUp