Who Makes a Champion?
Meggan M. Brunette, BS, CSCS, USA-W
I began playing softball and soccer when I was just 5 years old. I was blessed to have my father coach many of my teams growing up. Now, coaching is my profession and I have to laugh when all the parent coaches explain to me how their ‘daughter or son just won’t listen to them.’ But to encourage all you Moms and Dads out there, I did listen and your athlete does too! The athletes are listening, watching, feeling, and learning everything that we, as coaches, say and do. This was my inspiration for this series of blogs I will be posting in the following weeks.
Overall, I have played 13 years of softball, 13 years of soccer, 5 years of volleyball, and 5 years of competitive rowing. We are talking at least 35 teams I have competed on! Now, I give this brief history as in introduction to get you to think about the coaches who are now working with your youth athlete. Not only did my experiences with my coaches shape my athletic development, but those experiences have shaped and determined the values I hold today and how I have reacted through both trials and triumphs. Through the mentorship of my coaches, I have become the person I am today.
Over 10 years ago Greg Moss, a father coaching his daughter and her volleyball team, created the foundation which has shaped the environment at Champion’s QUEST. He believed that coaching athletes to be mentally strong and confident leaders among their peers, would ultimately bring them not only success on the court but success in life! As athlete performance coaches who ourselves have been through so many different experiences, backgrounds, and sports, there is a concept here at Champion’s QUEST that we stand shoulder to shoulder on. This is teaching our athletes the importance of living their lives as athletes, sisters, brothers, friends, co-workers, etc. in parallel with the Champion’s CREED.
We teach and believe the values of this creed to be to C-CHALLENGE YOURSELF and N= NEVER QUIT BELIEVING. We coach our athletes to challenge themselves while making educated decisions on their health and the paths that will lead them to their goals. They learn to challenge themselves both on the court and in the classroom. They learn to challenge themselves with everything from the agility drill that doesn’t come naturally to approaching their coach about more playing time or how they can improve. We realize that the uncomfortable is ‘where the magic happens’ and we teach our athletes the importance of this.
H = HUMBLE IN YOUR VICTORY, I = IGNORE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS, and M= MAKE NO EXCUSES. There are many opportunities for negativity to creep into the mental game of an athlete. Athletes will find themselves on team where they are less experienced and the challenge will be to stay positive and work hard to achieve their goals. On other teams, athletes may find themselves in a starting position where they need to practice humility and leadership. I started playing on my first soccer club team when I was still in elementary school. I was the youngest player by two years. This was challenging as I was put in the position to step up my game with older and faster girls at such a young age. In the end, it made me much more confident in my ability to adapt and exceed my personal expectations.
A = ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SOURCE OF POWER, P = PLAY ALL OUT NO FEAR, and O = OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE, GIVE 100% EFFORT. Athletes have to overcome injuries as well as overcome the fear of making mistakes. Athletes need to remain focused and determined to give there all in practice and in competition. Personally, I’ve overcome multiple injuries and through each I learned to rely on my personal source of greater power. Youth athletes go through so much that they require more direction from us as coaches than feedback on technique and field positioning. It is important to realize that it is far more valuable to build athletes up by teaching them that making mistakes is ok when they are giving their best effort. They need to be encouraged to give 100% rather than tear them down on negative coaching. We gain and teach respect from showing mutual respect and sharing our personal athletic experiences.
Our passion is mentoring these kids to see their potential and believe that the key to their success lies in the belief they have in themselves. We are not here for as trainers nationally talk about ‘the numbers.’ Us coaches have found each other here at CQ with a common goal to make a difference in a child’s life! Our goal is that every athlete that walks in these doors becomes their own success story. These youth athletes currently face so much peer pressure with social media, the high competitiveness of southern California athletics, and hours upon hours of homework to manage. Sometimes they need an ‘outside source’ to remind them how capable they are. So again my question for parents of young athletes is ‘who is coaching your athlete? Are they doing their job in coaching your athlete up?’ The athletes are listening, watching, feeling, and learning everything that we, as coaches, say and do.