What an amazing NCAA Championships this past weekend. Congrats to all the competitors, teams and of course Florida and Oklahoma!
I was not in attendance, but the footage I was able to watch was full of some amazing gymnastics. After the dust settles and the teams make their way back to their universities what do the athletes and coaches take away from this experience?
I love the definition of journey: an act of traveling from one place to another.
As a coach it is important no matter how you finish at these Championships, to evaluate the journey and communicate with your team the big picture of all that took place. There are so many things that are out of your control, but what is in your control is the education and learning. What did you learn as a coach? Did your athletes improve both physically and mentally? Who came back from injuries? Who overcame difficulties that no one knows about but you? Who surprised you and became a strong leader? Who was the one on the team that inspired others quietly?
I remember doing interviews when I was a head coach and trying to give honest answers to tough questions with out revealing every detail for the protection of the athlete. All the things that go on in one year of working together as a collective team of 20 people is sometimes overwhelming and very personal.
Sam Peszek from UCLA said it best in Gymnastike’s interview as she reflected on a less then perfect season. “We grew close as a team” “No one can take away the friendships and life long bonds which are bigger then any trophy”
I know Sam is a fierce competitor who has had to overcome many things in her gymnastics career, but what she was able to articulate is so true. The journey in sports is really about the people. Not everyone can win the trophy, but everyone can give their best and take away what they learned as an athlete and person.
Did you and your team “travel from one place to another” this season? Did the things you learned impact you and will you carry this with you through the rest of life? Will you be a better person from this journey?
Coach K, from Duke summed it up like this: “During the season, your team should be led with exuberance and excitement. You should live the journey. You should live it right. You should live it together. You should live it shared. You should try to make one another better. You should get on one another if somebody’s not doing their part. You should hug one another when they are. You should be disappointed in a loss and exhilarated in a win. It’s all about the journey”.