H is for Honesty

        H is for Honesty.  Telling the truth is something we are taught from the time we are little.  The Boy Who Cried Wolf and many other children's stories work to do the trick.  Somehow, as we grow older, many of us lose sight of our truth-telling compass.  One need only peruse your social media of choice to see one broken heart after another telling the world of their lying ex.  Broken promises have created a society of mistrust.  Politics are another great place to see dishonesty at it's finest.  "Misremembering" and other rationalizing all work to help people explain away lies.  For whatever reason, there is a culture of great mistrust in high school sports these days as well.  Parents are sometimes lied to by recruiting services, travel coaches, and others whose intentions may be misplaced at best, incredibly selfish at worst.  Anyway, off the soap box and onto the point of today's piece which is to hopefully minimize or eliminate the mistrust.

        Honesty is incredibly important as a coach.  Telling players the truth, although difficult at times, is an admirable behavior that coaches need to have.  One reason honesty is important is it allows athletes the opportunity to improve.  If we ignore weaknesses or poor performances, then we are robbing athletes of this opportunity.  Honesty can just as easily help athletes understand how good they are too.  This is often overlooked.  We want to keep athletes grounded.  At the high school level in particular, however, many are going through a difficult search for self.  Their bodies and minds go through significant changes, and sometimes they need help seeing the good.

        Something we did at the high school where I helped coach baseball is have individual meetings.  Our head coach and at least one assistant met with players at the end of the fall, usually right before the season, and after the season.  Many things were discussed.  How school was going, thoughts on how workouts or a season had gone, and expected roles within the team headed into these different time periods were all in play.  I loved it all.  Discussions of school helped players understand the importance of taking care of business off the field and often the connection between work ethic in the classroom and on the field.  Talking about fall practice or the season helped players to process what had happened and allowed for some reflection opportunities.  Prior to the season, the role expectation was something I felt was critical to a team.  For one, things that seem obvious to coaches oftentimes is not so obvious to players.  If they went into the season expecting to start at third base when, in the coach's mind they are a possible bat off the bench, there would be a significant and dangerous disconnect.  Think about how tough it would be that you are not a starter for the first time by a posted lineup card, a piece of paper instead of a human being.  Another reason these meetings were important is it often gave guys something to continue to work towards individually as a season started.  Understanding you are a bat off the bench going into the season but that the possibility for more opportunities exists helped provide motivation to continue to work to improve.  Finally, and possibly most importantly, honesty allows the player the opportunity to move into role acceptance and HOPEFULLY towards what I term role embracing.  Players see where they fit in with the greater good of the team and how it is important.  The earlier this happens, the greater you have a full team of embraced roles by the end of the season when it is so crucial to have a group that is together.  I've been around teams, both as a player and a coach, where guys were ready for a season to be over.  I've also been on teams where nobody, regardless of role, wanted it to end.  I know which I'd rather be a part of and have a feeling you do too.  Honesty can help you get there.

The H is for Honesty Song of the Day: Here I Go Again on My Own- Whitesnake
The whole finding a song that fits perfectly with the themes has proven more difficult than I realized.  For now, I'm just going with a song that starts with H instead.


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