Close your eyes, take a deep breath and think about one of your earliest memories of basketball. Think of a time when you were a little girl or little boy playing on a playground by your house, shooting hoops with your dad or your sister or a neighborhood friend. Remember how much fun it was, how freeing it was, how you wanted to stay out there all day long.
That’s a small part of a guided visualization I do regularly with the athletes I work with. This simple, sort of silly paragraph of text can be enormously powerful. Whether these athletes are struggling with confidence, not having fun, unmotivated, or frustrated this exercise can often lock them into a positive mindset in the matter of a few minutes.
For coaches it’s important to do the same thing- lock into the love of why you do what you do. With all the stress and pressure college coaches deal with, getting back to the root of your motivation can help drive you forward in a healthy, positive way. Too often, as we all aspire for greatness, we lose the perspective we need to enjoy ourselves along the way. If you are so inclined, do the following exercise for yourself and see how you feel (if you were a player you can also do the first exercise):
After you read this paragraph, close your eyes, take a deep breath and think about one of your earliest memories of coaching basketball. Think of the pure enjoyment you got out of helping young people grow through their sport, helping them overcome obstacles and challenge themselves. Remember how much fun it was, how rewarding it was, and how content you felt giving your all to the sport you love. Remember how those young athletes looked at you, the first time someone called you ‘Coach’, the first time an athlete gave you a hug and said ‘Thank you, Coach’. Remember a big victory that tested you and tested your athletes- a game that mattered not because of the score but because it helped you grow.
I challenge you to think about your earliest memories of coaching, your motivation, your energy, your endless passion. It can give you a renewed focus for this season and help you ensure your inner drive is fueled by positive thoughts and your passion for helping young people be all they can be.
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