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How Will Your Players Remember You?

For the past two weeks, we have been in camp, and I’ve had the privilege of coaching with two of my former players.

Melissa is in college now, and came back to help out for a week. Lauren is a special education teacher, and she also spent a week in our gym.

Their presence not only enriched our camps and helped our athletes, but it raised a question for all coaches: What will your athletes think of you once they are gone?

A simple fill-in-the-blank question will put the issue in perspective. I first heard it at a Gold Medal Squared coaching clinic, and it goes like this: Five years from now, how will the athlete fill in the blank?

“I ….. playing for Coach Tully.”

Will the word in the blank be “hated?” “Loved?” Somewhere in between?

The answer, of course, is up to you. You create the climate in your gym. Here are some questions to help you ensure your former athletes will love coming back to see you.

Is it fun? Renowned sports psychologist Dr. Rob Gilbert describes three different climates that can take place in the gym. It can be fun fun, serious fun, or serious serious. Of the three, you want to have serious fun.
Is it meaningful? This is part of serious fun. If the athlete sees that there is a purpose or direction, and that he or she is part of that purpose, then more commitment can follow.
Is there a sense of team? A sense of collective achievement and growth, and shared experiences, will last a lifetime.

A fun, meaningful, team effort can help ensure that your athletes will take something of value away from your gym, and make it more likely they might someday return to say hello or even to help.

Once again: what will your athletes think of you years from now?


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