Tonight I trained an amazing group of girls. They constituted a Freshman, JV, and Varsity Volleyball team. Most of our “practice” together was talking about “The Power Within” themselves that they bring to the court. One of the things that stuck out to after watching them play last night, and spending the afternoon with them today, was that so many of them are scared to be who they really are. So I called them out on it. I asked specifically “Are you scared.” Every head nodded. So I asked “What are you scared of?” Those who were brave enough to answer said they were scared of failing, which is pretty common. But many of them also said they were afraid to disappoint their coaches, peers, and themselves.
Now, if you’ve ever coached youth, you know that during the developmental stage, it is far more important for them to feel safe to make mistakes so they can learn to be better players, than it is to do everything perfectly. This amazing group of youth was so afraid to make mistakes, that they didn’t play all out and it showed. When we don’t feel safe to make mistakes, then we often quit trying. They were so afraid that every mistake would be so disappointing, that they started second guessing themselves, and therefore, made many errors and played far below their skill level.
As I watched them play, I noticed that many of them seemed afraid to really show up on the court in a way that was most natural to them (an energizer, connector, ignitor, or executor). They feared they would not be accepted. The problem is, as athletes, when we don’t show up true to who we are, our performance really suffers, and so does the dynamic of the team.
After our little pow-wow, we put them back on the court, encouraging them to use their power within to play all out. The difference to me was astonishing. They not only played much better, but the synergy was contagious and exciting. By the end of our time together, I saw a completely different team. A team more confident, understanding, accepting, and powerful. Will everything change literally overnight? Most likely not. I guess we will find out tomorrow when they play for their chance to go to the state tournament. But will they start to show up different from now on? I think so.
At the end of our practices/trainings I always ask the athletes to write their biggest “Aha” or “Take Away” from the training. The consensus was overwhelming. They realized what power they brought to the game and finally felt safe to show it.
Shelly Coray is an inspiring speaker, trainer, coach, and mom. She has helped hundreds of youth and adults gain greater control over their thoughts and actions and achieve higher levels of success through her workshops, speeches and training programs. Find out more about her HERE.