“Coach, you’re always correcting me. I feel like I’m not good enough.”
They hear the negative 5 times louder than they hear the praise. We can try to soften it, we can try to sandwich it, but as humans we internalize our short comings and tend to explain away the praise or give it less credibility because we don’t feel worthy. Then the mental breakdown begins and we see performance levels start to fall. “She’s in her head,” is often what we say.
Next time your player says they feel like they can do no right in your eyes because you are helping them to get better, use this to help them understand your role as their coach and their incredible value as a teammate.
As a kid I used to pick certain chores to earn money. One of my favorites was if there was any silver that needed polishing. I knew that under the imperfect, worn and dingy coating there was something incredible. It just needed to be polished.
Our players are each like a piece of silver. We don’t polish silver because it’s ugly. We don’t polish silver because we don’t value it. We polish it because it’s beautiful. We polish it to make it shine, to reveal the beauty that has been there all along but just needed a little help.
Our corrections are meant to bring out the skill and talent of each of our athletes. They are made because of the high value we attribute to our players, not because they are not good enough. We are there to help them shine. Silver comes in a set, the value of one piece goes down when another piece is missing. We need the whole team to shine, we need a full set.
Coaches are here to bring out your best, and sometimes that means we have to gently and carefully apply grit and friction to places that are tarnished in order to make it better. It’s done out of love, out of value, out of wanting the best from you.