We believe that in order for athletes to be successful, they should be striving to be the best version of themselves. And this does not just mean the best goalkeeper, defender, or hitter having their best athletic performance. Being the best version of oneself means that your effort is inline with the values that you stand for and represents who you are as a person, not just an athlete.
When an athlete gets scared and tenses up in the face of a challenge, the person who may consider themselves brave or courageous, is not being the true version of who they are. They are letting the environment and their emotions get the best of them. That is when people start to fail - when they are not staying true to the person they believe they are.
The first time we meet with athletes, whether individually or as a team, we ask them to identify the core values that make them who they are. Is friendship a value that matters? Is openness? Is adoration? Bravery? Excellence? What are the building blocks that make you the person you are. Not who you want to be tomorrow, or the person you thought to have been in the past. But is someone came up to you in the middle of the street and ask, “hey, what values matter to you?” - these are the ones you would give them.
So here is how you can identify those values:
Meet with you teams at the start of the year, create a list of 20-25 values that you feel are important [you can find a great list here]. Have each of them circle a maximum of 10 that they feel define who they are. Once you have done that, you have taken the first step in building a legitimate personality profile for your athletes, which can be invaluable to your team’s success.
Remember, the more you know your athlete and what matters to them, the more effective strategies you can use to improve their confidence, heighten their skills, and teach them lessons that they will carry with them years after they leave your team. After all, if you are not teaching you athletes skills that they can carry with them for their entire life, what the hell are you coaching for anyway?