It’s not unusual for All-America High School Athletes to be spoiled by their early success. They are often told how good they are, and in many instances are given preferential treatment. It’s hard for them to believe they have things to learn, but the fact is that when new recruits start out, their knowledge is often limited. They often have great ability and even some knowledge but they often lack wisdom. They usually are deficient in so many areas—especially the mental approach to the game. There’s a large gap between where they are and where they need to be but they can’t see it.
The leader must find a way to get these young players to see this gap, make them understand it and believe it exists, before they can break through their know-it-all habits. We always keep in mind these two important characteristics regarding behavior:
- People won’t change their behavior until they change their beliefs and,
- They’ll change their beliefs only when they see for themselves that they’ll come out better by changing. Effective coaches must have the ability to get people to change their beliefs, then their bad habits, for their own good as well as for the good of the team.
- If you have a young player who needs a little persuading to change annoying or ineffective habits then try taking these four steps:
- Ask him or her to list four of the most effective/successful people they have ever met and then to describe five things each of these individuals do well. Then ask them to compare themselves with these attributes.
- Ask them to choose someone in your program that they think is a top player and leader on their team. Then repeat the process of step one by describing five things they do well and then compare themselves with these attributes.
- Ask them to rate themselves on some important fundamentals/skills that are important to your team’s development. Then ask them to give examples of their behavior that demonstrate their conclusions.
- Finally they should list five reasons why they believe they do not have much to improve upon.
- The leader should then sit down with the player and coach him or her to success. Your goal as a leader is to create experiences that give your people feedback about the results of their behavior. Help them see the difference between where they are and where they think they are. Assist them in seeing the attributes that make an athlete successful. Show them the characteristics that you desire and makes a person a success in your program. Hopefully, then they will be motivated to learn how to change their actions for the benefit of themselves and the team.