Y is for You

          Y is for You.  As I have worked through the various letters of the alphabet I have had a bit of a system.  Prior to starting the series I brainstormed and just thought of whatever I thought of.  Then, if I got to a letter and didn't particularly like any of the words I had, I would look through notes and highlights from different books I've read to see if anything struck me.  Sometimes doing that would lead to another random word as I brainstormed more.  Throughout it all, I've made myself not look at any of the ABC type of books that inspired me to do this by Harvey Dorfman so the blog could be as original as possible.  That kept me from the original topic for today called "Yes, but" and led me back to looking through notes and highlights.  In doing so, the choice was obvious.  The Y word used far more often than any other in all I have read is You.

          "You" really is an appropriate choice for the ABC "Y" word for a number of reasons.  As already noted, the word stands out like a sore thumb for how often it's used in literature.  It's in your face in every book I've marked up.  You is really at the core of my philosophy of what sport psychology is about too.  In past blogs, tweets, and work, I've talked extensively about how self-awareness and proper perspective trump any singular mental skill.  The skills have their place, but understanding who you are and how that affects your performance is more important and useful for life.  The well-being of the athlete is ultimately even more important than the performance.  I love getting feedback on what I've written from a variety of people.  While it is always nice to hear from athletes and coaches, it's sometimes even more valuable to hear how people not involved directly with sports can relate to the concepts.  Their feedback allows me to see things from a different perspective and provide reminders of how valuable the lessons in sport psychology are.  Sports, after all, are only a small part of what life is about.

           Sport psychology, at its best, is to help empower the athletes, coaches, and people involved with it.  Feeling responsible for preparation, performance, and perspective are three of the things I like to see.  That comes down to YOU.  YOU have to decide whether you will practice with purpose.  YOU have to know your strengths and weaknesses and react accordingly.  YOU have to find out what works best for YOU.  YOU have to decide whether you will be proactive or reactive in your plan and execution.  YOU have to be able to reflect on performances rationally.  YOU have to believe in yourself.  YOU have to take responsibility for your performance.  YOU have to take responsibility for your career.  YOU have to decide how your career fits in with your life outside of sports.

          One of my favorite smaller pieces of literature is the "Always Compete" poem by Pete Carroll.  A line in the poem says, "You are the master of you."  That is what I want for athletes and coaches I work with and will work with in the future.  I want YOU to understand YOU are responsible for your choices and for yourself.  I don't want athletes to be dependent on me any more than we'd want them to be dependent on coaches.  "You" is what it is all about.

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