Over the past three weeks I have had the pleasure to teach my daughters grade 7 Volleyball team. Teaching them the basics has been so much fun – the girls are eager to learn, conscientious, attentive, fun and spirited. Yesterday we had our first games, a double header – back to back games for girls who have never played before.
My goal as a coach is to create an environment of fun, positivity and teamwork. I can gift these girls with my experience and knowledge, yet it is up to them to receive these gifts, learn and apply them. This is exactly what they have done. Our first game the girls won quite easily, at this point it’s pretty much a serving game – knowing this I put a lot of emphasis in training for serving. To see the girls excitement and quite frankly, it looked like a bit of surprise too – that they actually won filled my heart with excitement and pride.
The second game was against a large, professional looking team. They had 12 players to our 7, and their coach had obviously taught them a lot more strategy. I felt intimidated, “have I not been teaching the girls enough?,” “should I have been focusing more time on strategy and game playing?” Doubts filled my heart, and a sense of failure. I could also see and feel the girls hearts drop, and their excitement on the court fade as they were beaten quite convincingly in the first set. I let go of my fears, and gave myself fully to the girls in the break between sets – letting go of the outcome and believing in their spirit. The second set started similar to the first, yet there was something in the girls eyes. They weren’t ready to give up.
What I witnessed before me was a group of young girls – 12 and 13 year olds, rise above and not give up. Their heart and soul was in the game, they gave there very best – and at the same time celebrated and had fun. I witnessed the courage of our youngest player, who offered to come up from grade 6 – she has yet to have a practice game and has never played before. Each serve she did didn’t make it very far, every time a ball came to her she struggled to bump (dig in my days) it. Yet in this, what I witnessed was courage, determination and a beautiful attitude of resilience. I also saw the girls welcoming her with wide open arms, helping her and including her. Another girl on the team, who has been challenged with learning serving, would walk to the back of the court with doubt, and each time she would serve it into the net. Between sets I helped her with some techniques, and afterwards she kept going, improving each time. I witnessed her step through her perceived failure and saw her rise above each time, not giving up. I also saw the girls supporting each other, cheering each other on.
The girls won a very close second set, jumping up in the air in disbelief and surprise. I gave an excited and proud high five to every single girl – acknowledging them and celebrating their courage, determination and I even said to them – “You know why girls? Heart, soul, teamwork and fun.” Their spirits were lifted, belief in themselves set in. I believed too. They went on to win the third set and the game – my daughter serving the winning serve.
“Did we win the game?” they asked, a moment of wonder.
“Yes girls, you did. You won more than that – you won the award for not giving up.”
When have you felt like giving up, yet you stepped through that moment with heart and soul?
Remember that moment: see it, feel it, hear it, touch it and taste it.
Now feel it in your heart what you did to step through – you can choose to do that at any time.