One thing we emphasize to our players is that it is all about choices – they can choose to be positive. They can choose to be a good teammate. You get the idea.
Since the shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one activity players chose to invest in is what we call one-minute motivators or 1 M’s. We initiated these as part of our pre-practice routine during the second week of training to promote team building.
The 1 M’s consist of an individual player presenting a quote to teammates and then explaining why this quote motivates her. One objective of doing 1M’s was to provide 31 young women from two different schools, most of whom did not know each other, the opportunity to learn more about one another at a personal level. Through the 1 M’s, individual players also learned about themselves through self-reflection.
We had just started to get into the swing of the 1 M’s when our season abruptly ended. The team’s leadership decided to move several team activities to a virtual environment including the one-minute motivators. The players have provided some deep thoughts and mature insights that I have never seen before. Here are a couple of examples:
Quote: “You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.” - Andrew Murphy.
Reflection: “During this time, it would be easy to put walls up and lose motivation. We don’t have practice every day, our classes are spent at home on a computer screen, and we don’t have the opportunity to surround ourselves with people. Despite these circumstances, we are the ones who build these walls, which also means we have the ability to tear them down. Don’t lose hope. Don’t give up. Don’t let these circumstances stop you from growing! Keep in touch with God’s word, talk to your friends, and rely on this team for strength!”
Quote: “The future depends on what you do today.” ― Mahatma Gandi.
Reflection: “I have realized that a lot of us are concerned very much about what we are missing. It is easy to do so since our whole season came to an end. We are all working so hard to train for the future and for our own good, for which I am so proud of you all. Each of you working out, replying to the discussions and encouraging one another have made me so thankful I am part of such a wonderful team … it pushes me to push myself. It shows that even though we are physically apart, we are still so very much together.
"One of the things I have learned is … It is good to focus on the future sometimes and look toward goals you create for yourself; but at the same time, it is so important to be in the here and now. Those goals will be accomplished eventually if you focus on one day at a time, pushing yourself to be the best you can be EVERY SINGLE DAY. I am so proud to be part of this team, despite the distancing.”
The 1 M’s started out as an experiment, and as a result of unforeseen circumstances, I had learned about the resilience and abilities of these young people to think, feel and communicate at a very deep level. It has been a rewarding experience to watch this special group make lemonade from lemons.
Dave Gosselin is head coach of the Lincoln Lutheran Warriors soccer team and author of “Focus on Them: Leading the mindset revolution for coaches, educators, and business leaders.”
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