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This Week in Athletics

A Culture of Playing

I recently came across this article about our girls softball team (http://www.times-advocate.com/articles/softball-team-of-superstars-enjoy-being-top-of-their-league/) and as one player stated in the interview “It’s been really fun playing in high school, coming in as a freshman and joining the team.” 

This got me thinking about why our athletes join our teams? Is it to win? Is it to compete? Is it to stay fit and to live a heathy lifestyle? Maybe it is a little bit of all of these thing. But at the core of each of these concepts there is the idea of “Play.” There is something special that is produced in a individual as he or she plays… the by product of play is joy! I love our value statement of “Play as One.” 

Here are 3 tips for building a “Play As One” culture on a team by Carol Dweck

1. Having fun. Win-at-all-cost parents and coaches spoil the fun for kids and cause many to drop out of sports entirely. Kids these days have lots of pressure on them to achieve. Sports should be something they look forward to and then feel good about. 

2. Growing their skills. The serious part of sports is inspiring kids to grow their skills though mentoring and practice. It’s a good lesson for life—teaching them to work on weaknesses (and existing strengths) and pointing out how they’re progressing. This isn’t about just praising effort. It’s about guiding the development of high-level skills.

3. Becoming a great team member. On a win-at-all-cost team, it’s often every team member for themselves. Each one proving that they’re worthy. Yet, great teams have great “chemistry”-- team members support, root for, and help each other whenever possible. Parents and coaches should encourage and reward this.

Jon Goodman