I can still remember back to when I was 7 or 8. This was a time when I didn’t have the internet at my figure tips and most definitely didn’t have an iPhone attached to my hand. All I wanted to do was go outside and play with my friends. I was eager to compete. I desired to beat all of my friends in every single game that we participated in. Whether it was field hockey, shooting hoops, or even hide and go seek. There was a confidence that I had early on, that I would always win.
When I look back now, I suppose a lot of that confidence came from the teachings of my parents. I was brought up to believe that I COULD DO ANYTHING THAT I PUT MY MIND TO. I was also brought up with the understanding that you can/should always improve to get better and enhance your skills, no matter the results.
My mentality at a younger age was that, if I wasn’t the best at something, I needed to find a new way to get better at it. Practice and repetition weren’t a tedious requirement, but more just a way of life. I saw the benefits of doing something over and over again until I perfected it.
Even at the age of 10 I remember my mom and I doing hundreds of layups with the basketball until I could bank swish the layup (not allow the ball to touch the rim) repeatedly.
I remember at the same age going outside, to my driveway, and continuously throwing the ball against a wall I had in front of the house. I specifically was trying to either hit the same spots hundreds of times in a row or throwing it hard enough to create tough groundballs.
My parents helped me to understand that average work wasn’t going to cut it if I was going to be the best. I had to be different than everyone else. This also meant that I had to put the work in on my own most times. I couldn’t just rely on and expect my parents/coaches/mentors to do all the work for me. The effort was my responsibility, no one else was going to do it for me.
This was acceptable for me because I started to realize that in order to get better at things or to enhance my skills, there were certain things that I needed to experience and feel for myself.
I had to take a bad hop to the face sometimes.
I needed to get tired of having to chase the ball down the street after clanking it hard off the rim.
I was annoyed of being chased down and tackled from behind on the football field.
Nonetheless these things needed to happen in order for me to change.
I wasn’t a poor sport at all but losing just wasn’t an option. I liked winning, trophies, and MVP’s because let’s face it all of those things feel better than losing.
I was chasing a euphoria of excitement, happiness and joy. Being good wasn’t good enough. Adjustments had to be made and the quicker I made them the better athlete I became.
I think something important to understand too is that it was never about becoming great at one specific sport. It was more about being the best in as many as possible. I wanted to be a great all-around athlete and use the combination of skills/tools that I had acquired in every sport.
So, parents I encourage you to allow your kids to play multiple sports. This is how they use more of their brain and personally learn about how different parts of their body function. I think more of the focus should not necessarily be on an individual sport but being the best athlete you can be possibly be. I believe this helps in the long run.
Also, parents remember that youth sports aren’t for you, they are for the athlete. Allow them to develop the drive, motivation, determination and discipline. If you are the one pushing them to try harder, practice more often, and wanting to win more than them then something isn’t right.
All of these categories are where Xtraordinary Athletes separate themselves. I have been enjoying helping athletes excel in these categories for a long time. What is more, I’m even doing it virtually now. Check it out at www.XOathletes.com/virtual
Thanks for reading!