Thursday, August 22, 2019
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COACH KNEW VALUE OF AFFIRMATION ATHLETE NEEDED

She’s going to cry, I just know she is about to fall apart. . She is way too big to be on that balance beam. As a matter of fact, she is way too heavy to be in gymnastics. She is going to come in last place, and that is going to ruin her day.
And her score is…. Whoops, it is way below all the others. Here come the tears, I just know those tears are coming!
Here comes her coach. Oh please don’t shame or embarrass her. How can a 10 year old girl get on that beam, fall off 2 or 3 times, wobble the rest of the time in front of all these people and not just want to run out of the building? She looked about as stable as a wet sow on ice.
Wrong!
They are hugging and slapping five and smiling.
I thought it was the worst routine I have ever seen on the balance beam and they are both acting like she scored a perfect 10 in the Olympics.
Then I got it! It is all about affirmation. Kids need affirmation. It wasn’t about winning; it was about doing her best. Everything that we read about and learn about is actually right.
I wish every youth coach could have seen, and learned from this. This young, close to obese girl coming in probably last place feels better about herself now then she did just one minute ago.
When a coach is excited about the kids more than their win and loss record, positive impact happens. It is a wonderful thing to see a child’s self esteem increase as a result of knowing that they gave their all and made progress and improvements. This is what the kids need. They won’t remember their win/loss record 10 years from now, but they can still be benefiting from the life lessons that they learned in the process.
I loved watching this happen. The coach was all about encouraging for the effort and progress rather than worrying about if the kids made him/her look good as a coach.
If every youth coach could realize the incredible power that they have on a young child for either good or bad and use it for the good, I believe our world of youth sports would be very different. Hugging, slapping fives and smiling would be more prevalent and kids might stay involved in sports longer.
A good youth coach minimizes the pressure that comes from performance being the defining factor to success and places the priority on effort, improvement and having fun.
“Hey”, the coach reminds her, “last time you did this routine you fell 3 times. This time you only fell twice, and you made it through the hardest part with only a little wobble. I am so proud of you!”
I can’t even imagine what will happen when she gets through the whole routine without falling at all; or what about actually placing high enough to stand on the medal platforms for the awards ceremony?
Then I think there will be crying; coming from her team-mates, coaches, parents and spectators as they witness youth sports at its finest!

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