Below is a transcript of a handout that I went over with our team recently. Regardless of what sport you coach, buidling the character of the athletes that you get to coach is essential. I hope that the content below can benefit you and your team.
When you are dead and gone, how do you want to be remembered? What do you want others to say about you? What do you want your legacy to be? Take a moment to write out your own obituary.
Your involvement as a college basketball player allows you to have a great opportunity to become the type of person that you wish to be. Often times, however, we are used by our sport rather than using our sport to become who we wish to be.
You are being used by your sport when:
- You feel unworthy of acceptance or love if you do not play well
- You fear failure
- You allow the outcome of your performance to be a judgement of your value as a human
- You experience relief after playing well rather than joy
- Your emotions are a rollercoaster that rises and fall based on your performance
Rather than basing your value and worth off of how you perform on a given day, the more beneficial strategy is to intentionally focus on becoming the type of person you want to be and using your sport as a means to accomplish this.
Before you can begin to use your sport, you must understand this:
YOUR VALUE COMES FROM WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST, NOT FROM WHAT YOU DO
When you grasp this concept and live in it, your involvement/performance as a basketball player is no longer a judgement on who you are, but rather an opportunity to become the person you wish to be.
Take a look at the characteristics that you wrote down in the first exercise. Are these characteristics that you are born with or ones that you can develop?
All people are born with unique personalities, skills, and traits. But, much like physical talent, having it is not enough, you must work to develop your gifts. Basketball provides you with a unique opportunity to develop and grow the characteristics that are most important to you.
Every moment in basketball is an opportunity. Your response to the events that unfold during a game or practice is what will determine whether you are using your sport or being used by your sport. Intentionally choosing to use basketball to develop your character looks like:
- Choosing to show strong and confident body language after a bad play because you want to develop resilience
- Choosing to treat people exceptionally well after a loss because you want to show kindness regardless of your circumstances
- Choosing to encourage a teammate even when things are not going well for you because you want to train selflessness
- Choosing to put in extra work even if you know that you won’t get recognized for it because you want to develop your work ethic
As far as developing character goes, there are 2 types of categories for character traits, performance traits, and moral traits. Performance traits are characteristics that fuel high levels of success such as work ethic, willingness to sacrifice, confidence, competitiveness, responsibility, and so on. Moral traits are the characteristics that allow us to live as Christ lived, as well as live at peace with others. Moral traits are characteristics such as loving others, being honest, being kind, serving others, showing respect and compassion, and so on.
Our culture values performance traits at an extremely high level and shows little regard for moral traits. The problem with this is that if you do not develop moral traits you will lack the foundation that is necessary to support the success that you achieve as a result of your performance traits.
Examples: Tom Brady, Barry Bonds, Tiger Woods, and so on.
Your situation as a college athlete allows you to have an awesome opportunity to grow and develop your character. Growing character takes time, focus, and repetition, just like anything else in life.
What specific and controllable actions are you committed to in order to grow your character and become the type of person that you want to be:
- In the weight room:
- In my small-group workout:
- In our team workout:
- In the classroom: