Trust is needed to make any great change in a students’ life. Or in anyone’s life for that matter. Trust in your favorite instagrammer, facebooker or blog writer. Trust in your local doctor, nutritionist or personal trainer. I’ve been wrestling with the idea of creating trust so messages can be heard and understood faster and more clearly out on court.
I believe my role as a tennis coach is to convey information, guidance and direction for my students and parents. Helping them steer clear of pitfalls and future problems. Guiding them into a direction that will give them the greatest, long term chance of success. It’s certainly a challenge to connect with all parents on a level where you feel heard.
Education is, I believe, where the relationship is fostered most. Ignorance, of course, the most suitable trait for transgression. The cool thing about education is the depth of a subject. It never ends! You can educate yourself but can never know a topic in entirety. You can, however, approach the learning process with a scientific mind. A willingness to understand and grow. The scientific mind is a mind that searches for truth through trial and error. Through the use of other scientific studies, from other known knowledge bases, from educators well versed in the field. The crucial factor is, learning continues to grow and develop. This growth mindset will develop all areas of one’s life, limit common overtraining or burnout issues in teenagers and create processes you can use time and time again.
One of the major ideas that I’m working through is the notion of team work or the team that surrounds the student/child. What the ‘Pillars‘ around them do and how they build both the foundation and house.
It is very rare that a child only has one key person around them. Often it is multiple ‘Pillars’. These pillars can hold up the house/team. The pillars that are built around the child are often what will make or break their pursuits, directly affect their happiness, growth and overall sense of well-being.
When discussing the team it is important to be very clear on many aspects.
The first thing is:
Who’s passion are you pursuing? Is it 100% your child’s passion or is it more yours?
If it’s your passion, please ask yourself the following questions.
- Why is it so important to you?
- Does it really matter if your child chooses this particular activity or not?
- Are you creating stress in your child’s life that shouldn’t be there?
- What is your number one hope in life for your child?
It’s a hard thing to sit back and ask yourself these questions and answer honestly. Put your kids health and well-being first when responding, not their success in the activity they love. Remove your ego when answering, it will only cloud your judgment. If you can answer unemotionally, with clarity and honestly you are doing justice to your role as a parent.
Here is a little activity that we can do together. It will clearly identify what team members are around your child and hopefully identify if they are strong pillars or the team/pillars could use some attention.
OK. Let’s take a second to think about your children. Grab a notepad and write their name at the top of the page. Seriously……..Grab a notepad, this only works as a visual!
In the middle of the page, write out their main activity. If they have more than one, great! Write them all out. Now, around the central activities write out the names of people who are associated with those activities. Their name and their role. Include every person you can think of.
Thinking back to when I was 12 years old, my notepad would look like this.
Tennis and Australian Football (go the mighty Beacy tigers!)
People around me – Mum and Dad
- tennis coach Lois and Football coach Jacko. Assistant coaches that may take sessions from time to time. I had two tennis coaches. Lois was my main coach and Warrick was her assistant who ran squads. Tennis team mates and tournament friends. Football team mates. My school friends (important they’re included. Your child will spend most of their time with school friends) Tennis club members that I would see often. Nan and Pa. My grandparents were very involved with taking me to tennis.
For me, almost all pillars on the ‘Team Brett’ page were good people. They were great people. I owe a lot to that bunch and probably more than they can ever know. I was so fortunate that my parents were really there to support me. I chose the tournaments I played and they would find a way to get me there. Never, once did they force me to go to training or create training sessions that I didn’t ask for. They allowed me to play multiple sports because I loved them. They didn’t have me specialize, pick one that I would be great at. I was lucky to have balance and their concern was my well-being as a child.
Now for your notepad page. Look at every ‘key’ person around your child’s activity. Clearly imagine what their role is, how you believe they are impacting on your child’s world and reflect. Are these ‘key’ people creating a strong, loving, caring and supportive house? Are you able to sit back and reflect on yourself as a pillar? Are you a supportive, loving, caring pillar or maybe not exactly the type of support you would like to be?
If you can do this exercise open and honestly you will open doors that were previously closed. If everything you are doing currently is supportive, caring and inline with the strong ‘pillars’ framework, fantastic. Appreciate the work you have done or are doing to get your relationship and team in the best position possible.
Reflection is the best way to get a sense of where you are.
My role as a tennis coach is to be a strong and supportive pillar. My role is to guide parents to see the network around their child as see it as a team. When you view each person connected with your child on the same team, you can better eliminate road blocks. It’s stops the ‘us v them’ mentality. Parents and coaches may not always see eye to eye. That’s ok. Our job is not be be passengers and avoid causing waves. Our job is to do the right thing as a team. Fierce and strong conversations are often required, when the intention is growth and not personal, the team and pillars will flourish. Keep a strong growth mindset and honest intentions.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together- African Proverb