Some athletes will make you scratch your head or laugh, and some will help you be a better coach for them.
One of the greatest opportunities we have as a coach is to help our athletes understand that being passionate about life, not just sports, is what can drive them to live a very happy and productive life.
The time with our athletes is a gift; we have their undivided attention (most of the time) for hours on end and we can use that time for more than sport.
I coached a 15 and under travel volleyball team last season that faced some adversity, but we hung in there, and made a good run late in the season. I started coaching this team about 2 months into the season and one of the first things I asked all of the athletes was "what is your passion?" I was shocked when they all looked at me with blank stares. None of them could tell me what they were passionate about.
When I talk to sports organizations across the country, I use a tag line, and it sticks with the organizations long after I leave:
"PASSION... FIND IT, FEEL IT, FUEL IT..."
We're fortunate in that we have already identified a passion in our athletes, volleyball. Now we can help them find another, and another, and another! Help them understand that sports can be a passion, but it can't be the only one. We all need things that we're passionate about that have both intrinsic and extrinsic value and motivation attached to it. I always recommend to drive motivation with intrinsic values, things that make us feel good for doing good. It's great to get a trophy or medal, but what will continue to drive us is what we "feel" in regard to our passion.
Here are 5 ways to help your teams dig deep and find passion, a zest for things that drive them:
I encourage all of you to talk about passion with those you coach and mentor. I am certain you'll be surprised not only about the lack of it's existence but what they are passionate about. Some athletes will make you scratch your head or laugh, and some will help you be a better coach for them.