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BEHAVIOR MATTERS

I DO NOT THINK YOU THINK WHAT YOU THINK
 
                Gas prices are rising, an unpopular war is being waged, and we are seemingly inundated with messages that tell us to ignore long-term goals and to concentrate on me and today.  Some people respond with a paradigm shift in their thinking.  They stand up and say, “No” to this expensive, time-consuming pursuit of youth sports. 
Quality family time needs to be brought back to the forefront of our goals and desires.  We must regain the balance in our lives.  A sense of community, and what it stands for, needs to be returned to for the benefit of all.  This is what the goal should be: “balanced excellence” in youth sports and in life. There is a need for the voice of logic and reason, based on facts, not fantasy, to change the toxic atmosphere that rears its ugly head in youth sports. 
There is a need for a voice of logic and basic fundamental reasoning based on facts not fancy to change the sometimes toxic atmosphere in youth sports.
What coaches do in the context of a team, in terms of how they grow the team concept, can and will affect the players, now and in the future.  Embrace and praise good manners, unselfishness, camaraderie, and an excellent worth ethic.  These traits will stay with us throughout life. This is why coaches should continually tell their players to visualize past positive team experiences.
                The more we walk on the same path, the easier it is to follow that path.  The easier it is to do, the more consistently we can do it.  When the path is altered, we have a base from which to react confidently. The more relaxed we are, the less stressful situations will affect us, and our performance will increase.  We can choose our paths based on intrinsic knowledge, not on outward pressure.
                This has two benefits:  1. When crisis happens, we are more prepared to handle it calmly and are less likely to have it negatively impact performance, 2. The more relaxed we are, the less energy we use thinking negative thoughts, and we won’t stress out.  Think of how negative thoughts can wear us down, and those around us.
                Think of a friend or relative telling a tale of woe.  Look at him. See how just by telling the tale wears on him.  Imagine how the actual event must have felt.  See him tense up. Remember how it felt during the conversation.  Apply the knowledge gained to everything in life.  Pay it forward, as the saying goes.
There was an expression, “Positive. Keep it positive.” I told this to my players. I repeatedly tell my children the same thing. But, since I am only around them 20% of their day, other friends and peers have a great influence on them. I continually reinforce the message through actions and examples. The base has to be set and stay reliable for them, so that when they leave me, they will have a foundation on how to handle life’s travails and react positively to the world around them.
Good manners are paramount in setting the base.  Fundamental skills are needed to be successful in all areas of life.  Compassion and thoughtfulness are key components of manners and success.  We want to emulate leaders we admire. Find one who is solid and stable. He must be grounded in the fundamentals. Watch him; learn from him. Then, find your own path. Be polite in all things. Saying “shut up” never works. It is one of the most overused, abused and hurtful phrases used in everyday speech. People say it’s nothing, but it is something. Its use is demeaning and bossy and has a lingering undertow.   Please try to avoid saying it.  It cannot help us achieve a positive outcome.  It inflames when we are trying to achieve calmness. 
It is not a life sentence of eternal damnation to be wrong.  Don’t “jump on” someone just because he or she makes a mistake.  We should admit our mistakes. We are all going to make one soon enough.  When we apologize, we can say, “My bad”or“I’m sorry” and mean it.  Do it in a classy manner.  Be gracious when someone apologizes to you. “Please” and “thank you” are simple fundamentals. We don’t use them often enough. Neither do our players.  People would be surprised if they truly knew the impression that those words, and manners in general, make on others when said.  It also makes the person saying them feel good too.
 
KEEP FLIPPING THE SWITCH
                Instead of perpetuating questionable behavior with subjective, irrational thought and actions, it’s time to say, “Enough is enough!”  Parents and players should be made aware of the dangers ahead and not get overwhelmed and dragged down by the negative emotions.  We are going to set an example of decent, proper behavior, even while others choose negativity and entitlement over positive reinforcement.  It is time to stop the tsunami and put fun back as the number one priority of youth sports.  We need to take a stand. The future of our children’s happiness and contentment and their children’s depends on this.
                Look at what is going on and examine whether or not this is the future we want to hand to our children.  The issue of ethics both on and off the field will have paramount importance in the quality of life we seek for ourselves and our children in youth sports.
                We are social creatures by definition. Treating others as we would like to be treated is a foundation of life. This maxim forms an excellent base from which to grow.  Its youth sports: not professional sports, behavior counts.

Written by : VJS