In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about beginning with the end in mind. As coaches of female athletes, what qualities do we want them to have when their time with us is finished?
10 pieces of advice for our female athletes
- Be confident. In the interest of connecting with the young folks, I went over to Urban Dictionary and looked up swagger…because I know my athletes know what that word means! Swagger means “to move with confidence and conduct yourself in a way that would automatically earn respect.” I want my athletes to believe in themselves, their training, and their teammates.
- Be strong. Not just mentally, though that’s important too. I want my female athletes to feel comfortable in the weight room. I want them to go to the free weights and know what to do. I want them to be proud of their muscles and their strength. Athletes will sometimes express reservations about getting “too big”. Just tell them they’re not going to get big (without some unnatural help) and then tell them to go to the weight room.
- Be tough. Sometimes when my team is really getting after it in the gym and they’re dragging a bit, I tell them about our cross country coach. He runs 100-mile ultra-marathons in the summers. I tell my team that I’m sure he gets tired, but it’s mind over matter. I also remind them that they’re not running 100 mile ultra-marathons, so their energy shouldn’t be dragging.
- Be a student. Smart players with high sport I.Q.’s are successful. Smart players study scouting reports and know their opponent’s tendencies. Smart players know their strengths and hide their weaknesses. Smart players can’t get enough of learning about the game. Smart players want to improve. Let’s all encourage our athletes to learn about their sport.
- Be thoughtful. Great players think when they play. They’re not confused by the success or failure of a play…they can tell you exactly why things turned out the way they did. In the chess match that is sport, thoughtful players succeed over those who just react.
- Be proud. I never want my players to underestimate their abilities. It’s a stereotypically female trait to downplay one’s contribution, but if they’re ballers…isn’t it okay for them to say they’re a baller? Of course, I don’t want any player to take sole credit for a team victory, but I want them to be confident in their contribution to the team effort.
- Be decisive. When female players lack that swagger or pride in what they bring to the team, they hesitate. To overcome this hesitation problem, we have to create an atmosphere in our practices where aggressive play is rewarded. Sure, they may make a mistake…but who doesn’t?
- Be great. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I love John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. The peak of the pyramid is Competitive Greatness. This is my greatest delight as a coach: to watch my female athletes execute under pressure…when everything is on the line.
- Be energetic. In my mind, this is an underrated quality. How many of our players can say that they brought high energy to practice every single day? Every single week? Every single month? For the entire season…that’s a tall order! It’s one of the hardest skills to teach…constant focus over the course of a long season. It’s tough, but those teams that accomplish it are usually successful.
- Be passionate. If our players love the sport, then the rest of these things I’ve talked about will happen. Why? Because their passion will make them stick with it when they’re discouraged, when they’re tired, when the team is losing, when they’re not getting a lot of playing time, when it gets hard, when they’re not playing well. Enthusiasm and passion are contagious, let’s encourage our female athletes to bring them every day.
This post was based on the article, 10 tips for girls on how to be aggressive in basketball, over on layups.com…check it out!