A New 26: B is for Be You

        Longtime followers will recognize "Be You."  Be You is a concept that drives my philosophy as a mental performance coach.  For me, development and life is about the never ending process of exploring and being a better version of yourself.  Be You isn't an excuse but a driving factor in how you learn and what you do.  To be yourself, you first need to know yourself.  This means building self-awareness: knowing your strengths, your weaknesses, how you respond in different situations and why, etc.  I read a great Harvard Business Review article a few months ago that said, "although 95 % of people think they're self-aware, only 10 to 15% actually are.  I think we can raise that percentage by providing some help.
        At the high school level, there is a lot of temptation for comparison.  School academic rankings, siblings, star ratings for athletes, the list could go on for seemingly ever.  Add to that the pressures that come with the false portrayals of our lives on social media as perfect, post after post, and it can be challenging to be a kid today.  Oh yeah, I forgot.  High-school-aged students are also beginning the natural sociological phase of a search for self.  They aren't little kids anymore but are yet to become adults either.  Gone are the days of blindly believing in and doing whatever adults tell them.  What to do?  Much of what we do in the sport/performance psychology class I teach and work I do with groups and individuals is in an attempt to help young people discover and understand who they are and the why behind what they experience.  By recognizing strengths they're able to believe in themselves more.  With the awareness of weaknesses come opportunities to grow.  Building an understanding of why they get jittery and an elevated heart rate before a presentation allows the opportunity to then take control of themselves and their response.  What can you do about this as a coach?  Something I think can't be overvalued is starting the conversation.  Ask them what they think their strengths are, their weaknesses, what helps their performance, what hurts it, why they play, and so on.  Help the young people you work with to start recognizing and believing in who they are while also keeping an eye and building the road map for who they could be down the road.  They'll be better off for it, and we'll all be better off for raising that 10-15% discussed earlier.

- Coach Ehrlich


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