Things Our Generation Of Athletes Need
from Josh Williams(JANESH)
Topic # 1 Discipline
Train up a child in the way they should so when they are older, they will not depart from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6
Our society is not working on a “3 strike you’re out” system anymore. Our kids are only getting one chance to prove themselves worthy of the opportunities of the world. Our kids don’t have the luxury of second chances anymore. Did you hear about the swimmer from Stanford that was accused of raping that woman? He was sentenced to 6 months in prison. The swimmer name is tarnished. The internet has allowed us to pass information so much more freely.
We live in a generation that rumors hold the same weight as proven facts. Have you ever gotten a negative opinion about someone based upon something you read in a blog, on social media, or heard on ESPN? Didn’t change the way you feel towards that person. Proverbs 22:1 says a good name is more desirable than riches. All it takes is a hint of a rumor, for that image to be changed.
Us as guardians, coaches, and educators must find ways to shelter and protect the steps of our young. Practically everything they do these days are on display. Between Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram, our youth barley go hours without interacting on one of these social sites. We can’t monitor every minute of their life so the rules that we provide must govern them outside of your watch.
Like I said, our athletes are always under display. We all know that athletes are the kids that the spotlight seems to find. This is the same at our middle school, high school, and college level. With great power comes great responsibility. Below are a list of consequences that I have seen athletes endure over my years for not being aware of the spotlight.
Not getting a job because of reputation
Cut from teams
Suspended from games by coaches
Termination from jobs
I am a believer that these consequences are a result of the athlete not understanding their boundaries. Once they are convinced on what is right from wrong, they follow suit. I have highlighted a few ways to help steer out kids in the right direction.
Put your athlete around positive role models. Do this intentionally. Someone a little older than your athlete but decades younger than you. Sometimes, a parent or coach can preach a message to an athlete and it goes in one ear and out the other. But as soon as someone who can relate to them speaks those same words, the message sticks. Send your kid to spend some time with these type of influences. Have them go for lunch once a month. Or let them take a trip to a ball game every now and then. You know the perfect person to put your athlete around. Use that connection.
The next way to keep your athlete in check is controlling the youth that your athlete spends time with. Get to know the kids your child is interacting with. A few quotes to get my point across. “Time + Time + Time = Influence” or “Birds of a feather flock together” both of these famous quotes mean you can understand your athlete and their choices based upon who they associate with. This is true from your perspective as well as from the world’s point of view. “Guilty by association” Be deliberate about who you let them spend time with. Get to know the parents of your athlete’s friends. The personalities, interests, actions, etc are mixing when a group hangs together over time. Be proactive and assure yourself that the relationships your kids have, are not ones that will come to hurt them down the road.
Last tip on managing your athletes is keeping up with their social media accounts. You won’t have much control of what they are posting, but each time they do post, they know that you have a chance of seeing that content. Snapchat is something you will have to check about every day because of the frequency that the kids post and the content is deleted. Instagram and Twitter, you can run through about once a week.
With these small tips, we are looking to ensure that the principles you teach under your roof are being represented in your athlete’s actions out in the world.
From birth to senior year, our job as guardians is to make sure that this kid can function properly in society on their own. I want us to decrease the possible chances of our kids messing up. We are living in a competitive, unforgiving world. Where mistakes are less likely to be forgotten. Information travels through our social group so quickly these days. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Consequences are grave. Losing the reputation of your name being the biggest of the consequences. Our kids can’t afford even one mistake based on how we have judged our athletes in the past. We must work our prevention methods while we are molding our athletes. By controlling their mentors, friends, and social media, we ensure that they are running a straight course under our watch but more importantly, they will continue to fly straight.
This is Josh Williams,