Gratituders & Gripers

Over the past couple of weeks I have heard from former and current players and their parents. One way or another they expressed appreciation. I am fortunate to have coached a lot of kids who get it and whose parent’s get it.

But it made me think of those who have not been so lucky.

Gripes are public and gratitudes are private. I say this because I have seen many fine coaches dragged across hot coals or even permanently fall to the public gripe. These same coaches have received thank you’s from appreciative players and families on countless occasions. The overwheliming majority of those positive expressions happen quietly and discreetely. 

Whereas the gripers bring their complaints to an audience, the gratituders thank the coach directly. The gripes are filed and the gratitudes are never witnessed.

Remember that the next time someone tries to belittle or run off the coach.

One’s lack of understanding of where the true preponderance of evidence lies is a reflection of you…not the coach.

As a coach I have always been appreciative of those who were aware of this.

Consider sending your coach or your kid’s coach an email. It will be appreciated. Unfortunatley, these days it will also be of use the next time the boistorous griper meets the decision maker who is oblivious of how gratitude works.

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Becoming a Winner

The first moment when you see yourself becoming a winner comes when you are doing the right things so consistently that you begin to see where the competition is falling short. It is increasingly clear to you that others just won’t do what you’re willing to do. You watch as they let things break them and then justify it to themselves and others. You see them fall in traps you had the character to avoid. You quietly begin to pass more talented people by because they are just not tough enough to do the job right over and over again.  You have begun to master what very few bothered to take the time to learn. You watched and  listened and applied what you learned. You now know that when nobody gives you a chance, you can win anyway.  There is no gap between what you can do and what you will do. With that comes a certain peace that only the true winners know.

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Character & Mental Toughness – Blind Spots

One lesson we all learn when we first start driving is that there are blind spots.  The drivers education programs make new drivers aware that they really are not seeing everything when behind the wheel.   In short, there is more to see than you think.   You have to make the extra effort to check your blind spots before you make a move.  You have to make the extra effort in order to be aware of what is going on.  Fail to do so and the consequences can be grave for yourself and others.

People have blind spots too.

Weaknesses we fail to see in ourselves.

We must make an extra effort to find our blind spots in order to see areas we need to develop.   It helps if we have someone who can point out these blind spots and teach us where we need to grow.

If we make the effort, like taking the time to read this page, then those blind spots become small and inconsequential.  If we ignore our blind spots, eventually we make the wrong move and they catch up with us.  We end up in a bit of a wreck because we didn’t listen, or were too lazy, or too distracted, or thought it wouldn’t matter.  Taking some time now to learn and minimize your blind spots can help you to avert disaster later.

Tonight I took my two oldest boys bowling.  I’m a terrible bowler.  This is because I didn’t spend any time developing my bowling skills.  Kinda of like a football player who never lifts won’t be very good.

As soon as we got to our lane my soon to be twelve year old wanted to put up the bumper guards.  These guards prevent the ball from entering the gutter, and they make sure the person bowling knocks pins down everytime.

I refused.

”Absolutely not, you are too old, we are going to play this game the right way,” I said.

He pointed to the older teenagers in the next lane to our right who were playing with the bumpers up, and said “they have the bumpers up.”

I said in a lower tone, “you are lucky you have a father who expects more from you than that, anyone can be goofy, I’m not wasting 50 dollars on paying for us to bowl so you can be goofy.  You don’t get to bowl much, make the most of this chance to improve.  Someday it might matter.”  As I said this one of the teenagers was turned around and hiking the ball between her legs and down the lane.

The first game my soon to be twelve year old was terrible.  Gutter ball after gutter ball.  He had a very frustrated and dejected face.  The twelve year old’s soon to be fourteen year old brother then asked me to put the bumper guards up.  He felt bad for his younger brother.

I told him “Absolutely not. We can raise the baby bumpers or we can raise our game.  We can learn how to play this sport the right way.  Stop wishing for it to be easier and start working on getting better.”

I was happy to see that both of my sons improved vastly over the next couple games.  Near the end of our second game a group of soon to be twelve year olds started bowling in the lane to our left.  They had the bumpers up.  By then my twelve year old son was knocking down pins everytime he was up.  I could see he was proud of himself because he was doing something these other kids his age couldn’t or wouldn’t be mature enough to do.

I had won the first couple of games, but in the final game my fourteen year old was 1st, my twelve year old was 2nd,  and I had won.  My sons had just minimized a blind spot.

Continue to work on minimizing your blindspots.  Eventually that work allows you to begin to see the blindspots in others.  You begin to see when people make excuses instead of progress.    You begin to see things like people who tell their teammates what to do, but haven’t earned that right by sweating alongside them.  You begin to see when people fail because they can’t get through adversity.  You begin to see people who think they need breaks, but haven’t even started working yet.  You get what I call Neo vision.  I don’t mean hip-hop star glasses.  I mean you begin to see things that others are blind to.  Like Neo in The Matrix.

You begin to see why people, and teams, and towns win.  You begin to see how they lose.

I just want you to know what is possible.

Posted in character and mental toughness

Nothing Stronger…

There is nothing stronger than a parent standing by their child’s hospital bed.

There is nothing stronger than an addict trying to make it through another hour sober.

There is nothing stronger than someone who shares a little with someone who has none.

There is nothing stronger than someone standing between evil and the ungrateful meek.

There is nothing stronger than the falsely accused who refuses to yield until the day the rest discover the truth.

There is nothing stronger than the child who parents the younger sibling while the parent acts like a child.

There is nothing stronger than a will empowered by love.

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You can do better

What messages are you choosing to receive? Your social media feed (who you follow, what you read, the images you take in, the videos you watch, etc.) will have an effect on you. Billions of dollars are spent on tv, radio and social media ads because they work. They penetrate your mind and influence your thought process. So what messages are you feeding yourself? Are you taking in a lot of frivolous crap or are you taking in things that will motivate you and educate you so you can make better decisions? It’s called a feed for a reason. You become what you choose to eat. The things that will not make you better are easy to find as you will be bombarded by them. As it is easy to passively take these in, average people will succumb to them. But if you refuse to settle for mediocrity, you can be pro-active and find just as many resources that will help you raise your game and become the person you know you can be. As with anything else, a relatively small amount of initial effort can make a huge amount of difference. –@CoachBillMoore

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