Saturday, August 22, 2015

Are You Coachable?

At the age of eight, I played my first volleyball game. My career ended my senior year in college as an All-Conference Middle Hitter. Since my college days, I have been coaching. From camps to running a program for 3rd through 8th graders for eight years to coaching high school volleyball, l have remained involved in the sport that was my first love.

Over the years, the athletes who have entered my gym have changed dramatically from super-driven, do-whatever-it-takes kids who were pushed and encouraged by their parents to young people who have difficulty grasping the concept of team and who hear their coaches but don't necessarily listen to them. We created a society of student athletes who believe they deserve recognition, they deserve the classiest uniforms, and they deserve to win without ever really putting in the work required. I believe that started when we stopped keeping score and started giving trophies to everyone who showed up.

But volleyball is a GAME. Basketball is a game. Football is a game. Soccer is a game. The use of the word GAME alone implies that someone is supposed to WIN. Not everybody gets to have that experience. WE don't all get to take home the trophy. In team sports, the big trophies are awarded to THE WHOLE TEAM who SHARES ONE TROPHY. That's how it works. And in order to win, you have to be faster, stronger, better, more focused than the your opponent. The team must be comprised of a squad full of coachable people. What does that mean? Are you coachable?

Being a coachable athlete is to be like clay, moldable and stretchable beyond what you think your limits are.

If you already have all the answers or criticism makes you angry, you are not coachable. If you hear the coaches' instructions or guidance but you continue to do things your way, you are not coachable. If you quit (quit the team, quit performing a skill that makes you uncomfortable or that you don't like, quit in the midst of the game), you are not coachable.

If you willingly adjust when coaches ask (or yell) something, you are coachable. If you are the first in the gym and the last one out, you are coachable. If you are working on your skills on your own time, following the coaches' teaching, you are coachable. If you implement the plan laid out by the coach (EVEN IF YOU LOSE), you are coachable. If you hustle without being asked, give your coach your undivided attention, and you leave 100% on the court every single practice and every single game, even when you are mad at your coach, you are coachable.

And if you are coachable, the possibilities for your future OUTSIDE of sports are endless. Sports has a direct correlation to life. (That means, it is related.) The work ethic you practice in sports will carry over to your jobs. Your ability to build a chemistry with teammates will translate to your success as a cooperative and collaborative co-worker. How well do you bounce back when you lose or even FAIL? If you learn to do it now, mistakes in life will be easier to recover from or overcome.

As sure as the sun rises and sets, you will have setbacks and disappointments in sports, AND in life. Most of us already have experienced that. But being an athlete means you are determined, driven to succeed, relentless in your pursuit of perfection, adaptable, able to bounce back and refocus for the next time, willing to love your team through difficulties and exalt them in successes ABOVE YOURSELF. Being an athlete means being coachable.

Are you coachable?

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