Over the Memorial Day weekend, I had a nice conversation with my former coach. With all the different topic we discussed, one thing came up that really hit me. It was about philosophy of winning. It brought memories when I was competiting. I never dwell on how many medals I have won, although I have won many including national titles, but it was about my scores and increasing diffuculty. The outcome of placement took care of itself. So, What is the definition of winning?
Winning means different things to different people. Winning for the most of us is all about first place, earning medals, trophies, banners, and/or plaques. In this case, everything else is failure! At one point in time we feel like a failure. It's really up to us how we cope with failure. Losing is part of life. How you cope with it, can help you grow to be a better person and can make you a winner! A good support system from the coaches and parents can help to deal to cope with the good and bad times. I like to say that you must learn to cope from losing in order to win.
Winning is not about earning medals and trophies. Being a champion is not about the numbers of medals your team brings in, not the number of trophies on the wall around the gym, and not about how many team banners you have hanging on the ceiling. Winning is a common goal for everyone. I like to see the scores since they meassure their performance and success. Example, An athlete can get 3rd place all-around with a score of a 34.5 and then gets 5th place all-around with a score of a 36.0. The athlete was successful because of the increase of the score. The athlete has control over the outcome of performance not the outcome of placement (Judges are another story). Stats don't lie when you are trying to build a sucessful athlete. Medals and trophies don't measure anything. They are memories of the athletes' hard work. Your athletes is successful due to the coaches leadership!
Coaches should be leaders, a mentor, a guide to help athletes to be sucessful and not worry about the outcome of placement. I can't control weather my athlete wins or not. However, I can control how I lead and how I deal with each ahtlete to help them be sucessful every way possible. Not every athlete learn the same way. Its my duty to find that learning curve of the athlete and guide them from there. Athletes has full control of how they excute the skills and routine at their best of their ability (mental imagery). If they make a mistake, it all part of the learning process (mental toughness). Me as a coach is how I guide them through it.
Ideas to keep kids to be sucessful:
1. Can you make the least amount of falls on the Balance Beam?
2. How much time can you take up doing your 10 skill trampoline routine? More time the better since the athlete is going higher or maintaining maximum hieght.
3. Hit and Miss chart. This is one of my popular charts I have made to keep in track of how many routines they hit and how many they miss. This teaches them to stay focus on being consistant.
4. Make a skill report card. This report card tells the athletes what skills they have and what they are working on. Also keeps track of score progress over the season. I do at least four report cards a year (one every three months). The forth report card should before the post season (Championships season).
5. Strength and flexiblity progress report. Pick only the most important sport specific excercise in your sport and make an assessment.
While there are so many ideas to help kids to be successful to achieve their goals, I can't list them all. Kids love to see their own progress on a chart or on paper. It serve as a motivator to achieve their goals of their own and see it on paper. When they are successful they are winners in their own way. This will help keep the kids in the sport longer! Trust me kids are naturally competitive!
WHAT IS WINNING?
"Winning is a happy byproduct of learning well." -Brian Payne
Best of Luck!