How to Teach Commitment and Perseverance Written By Keri Casas
All too often we let our female athletes “off the hook.” We let them give up, we let them put their head down, and we tell them, “It’s ok”. We feel bad for them, we see how tired they are, we see their emotions on their sleeves, come on, they’re just girls. If you haven’t had this moment as a coach, you’re lying to yourself.
We have all been there, because they are just little girls, but are we doing the right thing? Should we cut these girls so much slack? Absolutely not. They may be your princess, the apple in your eye, but just as you would your son, let them fight the battle. You are setting your female athlete up for failure if you let her give excuses and let her give up. If she is in constant belief that she doesn’t have to give 110% at all times, she will never know what it feels like to earn the starting position. She will never understand the dedication and commitment it takes to be successful, a life lesson we would prefer them to learn before they enter the real world.
So how do we take a stand? How do we teach and motivate them to make a commitment and persevere? 3 key facts can help keep your athlete’s head in the game:
1. Never let her give up. This is a duh moment right? Of course you would never let your female athlete give up; however, how many of you let her quit a team before they earned playing time? You may be as frustrated with your athlete’s playing time as she is, however, let her pay her dues and earn the spot. Many coaches are loyal to their standing roster, so it takes time to work a way into the lineup. This is life. A CEO isn’t going to offer you a VP position the first day on the job; you can’t expect a coach to do the same with your female athlete.
2. Don’t miss practice. I’ve heard a lot of excuses for missing practice: I have too much homework, my cousin’s uncle’s roommate is getting married, I have a cold. Practices are usually 2-3 hours, in a 24 hour day; your athlete can go to practice. Unless she is on her death bed, she should be at practice. Athletes don’t have the option to miss practice in college, so it’s best to learn how to manage athletics, academics, and social life now to be prepared for the future. If your athlete wants to play, she has to make an effort to show her dedication. There is a huge difference between saying you want the spot, and proving you want the spot.
3. Support Teammates. Nothing is worse than an athlete who pouts about playing time on the bench. If your athlete is on the bench, she needs to make the effort to be an effective member of the team. She can keep score, keep stats, learn more about her mental game, learn about positioning, pick her teammates up, etc. The bench is a time to develop both physical and mental skill and that time should be utilized to its fullest; don’t let them make it a negative experience.
These aspects of the game will help your athlete learn the importance of commitment and respect the completely satisfying feeling of preserving. Always remember, athletics teach us incredibly important life lessons and if a female athlete is pushed to preserve through adverse situations, she will flourish as a young adult and career woman who was taught to never give up.
Keri Casas is the Director of Operations and Lead Instructor for All American Softball, Inc in Sacramento, CA. A former Division 1 student-athlete and graduate of Syracuse University, Keri is a coordinator for All American’s College Prep Program, helping athletes achieves collegiate softball scholarships. Keri is also the lead contributor and editor of CoachingaFemaleAthlete.com and co-author of the E-Book, “Bats, Gloves, and Glitter: 7 Must-Know Facts About Female Athletes”.
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