“It’s more the WHO than the DO.” Young athletes must understand it’s much more important who they are, than what they do. If they get this order wrong it’s very dangerous because they will be building an identity around something that can easily be taken away. (One injury will do it.)
Their “doing” is based on performance and we know that, like Bruce Springsteen, one day their “Glory Days” of high school athletics will come to an end. However, “who” they are speaks of them as a person and we know that they will take this person with them wherever they go in life. If they never form a healthy identity of “who” they are, they will never reach full maturity. (Think Stability and Security over Statistics.)
Speaker Tim Elmore explains how a healthy identity looks a lot like a fully-grown tree.
Roots – The roots below represent one’s identity. Roots are unseen but are most important to the strength of the tree. They must be deep and intertwined with others.
Trunk – The trunk is visible and represents one’s core strength and vitality. Strong roots result in a strong trunk which can withstand adverse storms and high winds.
Fruit – The branches and ultimately the fruit represent the life-giving attributes of the athlete. Only with genuinely strong roots and a strong core do we get good fruit worth sharing with others.
Over time, the most healthy, resilient athletes are the result of coaches and mentors who enable them to build their identity around solid, life-giving elements beyond their sport(s) of choice.
Athletes need coaches who model for them the elements of a healthy identity…
*It revolves around the “life-giving” characteristics inside of us.
*It’s based on internal and eternal elements which cannot be taken away.
*It’s built upon self-worth and core beliefs that will last a lifetime.
*It involves solving problems together and serving people.
*It furnishes a platform to leave a legacy.
As a coach, prepare the athlete for the path, not the path for the athlete.