Athletes and Their Potential

contributed by Brian O'Reilly (Southwestern Ontario)

THE COACH ARRIVED in the small warm room. It was a place they met often and today, because it was 38 degrees Celsius outside, the room was especially hot. Soon the air conditioner was put on and it quickly offered some relief from the heat. The athletes arrived and we began to debrief.

The athletes first described the match and their ways of thinking on technical things of the game.

The atmosphere in the room held many emotions and all were hiding from what was really felt and place that they were in. The chatting went on for a time and everyone was avoiding the heart of the matter. It is amazing how clever people can be to avoid the real questions and what really is going on within a group of people who have no regard for their potential and living up to it.

Often athletes who have some success are the hardest to work with because they think they can win or have the recipe for winning. The fact is that there is no recipe and every journey must begin each day new and fresh and the level of commitment to what you are doing must be in place.

We put so much attention on the technical matters to get the competitive edge.

It is not natural to be competitive. It is something that is put into us. It is a ruthless thing that easily can become twisted in a sense of power over other people and situations that can breed a heightened level of superiority. This level of superiority invites fear because it forms an image of the player based on success. Anytime you identify yourself with your performance in anything, fear cripples the love of the game and destroys it. These athletes were masters at building all kinds of “off ramps” with each other and were scared to really reach their potential.

We fear the most the work to accomplish the dream we have. Many people dreaming of winning Olympic gold put only a handful of work into that dream and few have the heart to do the training to achieve it.

Originally published March 22, 2008 on Coach Bri’s Blog.

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