NAVIGATING THE 2020-2021 CHSSA SCHEDULE AS AN ATHLETE
Yesterday, we finished our summer training. It was a challenging, rewarding and GREAT training season because of the incredible support we received from our awesome community despite the chaos we faced from COVID. As we were post testing the last few days, I watched our local Colorado athletes start to realize their world had once again been disrupted with the news of CHSSA's recent announcements on the 2020/2021 schedule. Their body language and conversations throughout the day revealed the anxiety and anger starting to appear as they were processing the challenges and changing athletic careers ahead of them. I feel their frustration. I'm angry for them and while I don't agree with every decision being made, my job as their coach doesn't stop. They're looking to me to help them navigate the new world they face as athletes.
It's important for our athletes to know that WE ARE STILL HERE FOR THEM!
As a coach, I want nothing more than to see athletes succeed and compete to the best of their abilities. As an athlete, I know there's nothing more devastating than taking away the ability to compete under those 'Friday Night Lights'. As a father, I know I'd fight for every opportunity for my son to enjoy the things he loves to do that build his character and lasting friendships like sports offer.
So, while this isn't an end all solution and there is an uphill battle ahead, these are the words we left our athletes with on their last day of training to help them start to navigate their changing athletic seasons ahead.
It's OK To Be Angry
It's OK to be upset, frustrated and angry right now. You have every right to be. It absolutely sucks, and there's no better way to say it. As a former athlete who lost seasons and opportunities to injuries, I know better than anyone how devastating losing or delaying a season is, not only physically but also mentally, spiritually and emotionally. It's true, life isn't always fair BUT, we don't know how many days we have on this earth which is why we engrain the 'LAST PLAY' mentality into our training culture. So, take time to process and grieve in a HEALTHY way and channel that energy into motivation! New challenges present new opportunities.
your mental health matters
Athletes know how equally important the 'mental game' is. A well seasoned athlete can easily lose the game before it starts if they get in their own head. We see these 'upsets' happen all the time in sports. Your thoughts and emotions, left unchecked, can easily blind your perspective. Invite your trusted family, friends, coaches and teammates into your frustration, fear and anger so you can fully process your emotions. They'll help you gain perspective, be aware of unhealthy choices and encourage you to keep moving forward. I know it feels like you are the only one who is affected right now but the truth is EVERYONE has been affected by these events. Your frustration, hurt and athletic career is absolutely unique to you but remember you are not alone in facing it. We are ALL navigating this together. Focusing on the problem will only create blinders and a 'Woe Is Me...' attitude. Focusing on the solution is what transforms a good athlete into a GREAT athlete!
Turn 'What have I lost because of this?' into 'What can I gain because of this?'.
TAKE TIME TO BE A 'KID'
My wife loves to be around people. She finds energy and excitement like a little kid has even when she's exhausted because it fuels her desire and curiosity to invest in and get to know people. As much as it derails her plans, she loves to be interrupted by people because that's what she cares most about. This mentality is the same for athletes. We LIVE for the game and competition. We live for disruption because it challenges us to BE BETTER! To be 'The Best' as an individual and as a team. We are driven past the point of pure exhaustion to give the game EVERYTHING we've got to win.
BUT... my wife needs her rest and relaxation just as much as she needs the very thing that motivates her. When she's been around a lot of people or navigates difficult conversations, she needs to withdraw, rest and reset. The school year and sport season you once knew has changed and disrupted your plans and it can feel overwhelming. Rest is key right now. Use these next few weeks to ENJOY the last weeks of summer and JUST BE A 'KID' - PLAY and have FUN! Take time to reset and mentally prepare to welcome the structure and new routine you're stepping into. Confidently step back into the discipline required to navigate classes and the athletic seasons ahead of you. AS AN ATHLETE YOU LIVE FOR A CHALLENGE! As a 'kid' you need your rest.
HAVE hope - keep moving forward
It's OK to have HOPE right now. It's what drives and motivates us. Everybody loves a comeback and this is the perfect opportunity for it. Athletics aren't over, the schedule just looks different. If your season was changed, cancelled or postponed you have an incredible opportunity to improve your game, athleticism and maybe even try something new. Don't let the unknowns or speculations of what's to come derail you. Use it as fuel to move forward as 'The Comeback Kid'! You compete because you love the challenge and opportunities it brings. This is what makes you an athlete.
This doesn't change what you love to do or who you are as an athlete - Keep Moving Forward.
Athletes, Parents & Coaches - we are here for you and we are ALWAYS ready to Bring Out Your Athlete!