Tom Newell At Large: October 2011

Fears: often times we (Student Athletes ) forget that our Parents have nothing to do with the "process" of what "Tryouts" mean at the Interscholastic level of competition, whatever sport it is today...Why? Well, let's reflect a moment...Our Parent(s) sign us up for soccer, baseball, softball, swimming, tennis, football, LAX, and other activities as well at an early age, remember?...this "process" commences at the early age of 6 years old...so, for the next several years, we "learn" (hopefully) how to be on a team, practice, learn the rules of competition, how to wear a uniform properly, and hopefully understand the sportsmanship involved in each activity...During this process, our Parents make a decision for us to be "trained" by a professional or facsimile instructor who may or may not be qualified, per se, (limited knowledge of child psychology today in youth sports participation and proper fundamentals player development), and this investment on their part is really honest and hopeful...Honest in its initial application: developing the skills set to be successful in competition and gaining the self confidence to "advance" (play on a Select Team sometime soon) and maybe evolve into a position on the team in high school someday...Hopeful that their (Parents) expectations was a worthwhile investment towards individual achievements, etc...So, here we "arrive" at high school, and we're required to sign ourselves up, NOT our Parents this time, for the first time, as they are only required to "sign" the medical waiver (Insurance release form), sign the Honor Code and adhere to the Schools' required rules and regs when a Student Athlete in extracurricular activities...It is here, that the first emotion of "fear" when in high school, out of the class room and onto the field of competition begins: "...am I good enough to make the team...can I make the Freshman Team...JV Team...Varsity...will I start (whatever level of tryout I experience)...will I actually play..."

Peers: "...wow, I didn't know that there would be this much conditioning and work without the ball...I don't know if I'm strong enough to compete...geeze, he/she is so much more skilled than me, plus they played for one of the best Select teams...I haven't grown much this summer...I don't know if I like this "setup" as much as my Dad and Mom do...what if I shoot airballs...what if I make mistakes...what if I get my shot blocked...what if they steal the ball off my dribble or pass and cut...what if the coach(es) don't like me...I can't shoot very well outside (Coach t says: "...who can TODAY?")...I'm not strong enough...I can't stop anyone One on One...a Grasshopper jumps higher than I do...what do I tell my parents after each day of tryouts...wow, there sure are some better players than me trying out, look how well they shoot, run and jump, they're really fast, stronger, etc...why does the coach encourage these players and compliment them more than me and the other kids trying out...what if I don't make the team..."

Insight: Coach t believes that we can overcome all FEARS daily before we lace our shoes up for tryouts...How? Simple: visualize those elements of your skills set that you do have confidence in and focus on the ONE KEY ELEMENT that NO PEER can MATCH: Your BEST EFFORT!! Yep, think about it: "I am going to hustle and work harder than anyone else there, not drop my shoulders when I make mistakes, because Coach t says "...mistakes are part of the learning and developing process in organized sports...no one plays perfect...BUT...if my sports DNA is my Best Effort, then WHO can deny that aspect of my game that will ALL WAYS stand out before coaches and peers...?"...Then when I step on the court with a basketball, I am going to shoot some layups first on a side basket, make them all, then shoot some bank shots to make sure my "release point" is consistent and I am balanced when I shoot from the outside; then I'll warm up with the ballhandling drills Coach t taught us, and all the time just FOCUSED on the opportunity to demonstrate and exhibit how much I love this game and can hardly wait to show the coaches and my peers that I may not be as good as they are YET, skills set-wise, BUT I know I will outwork them at both ends because of my BEST EFFORT...Boohlyah!! I am going to be supportive of my new teammates during this tryout, complimenting them on their passes that helped me score or a teammate, support those who make mistakes, telling them it's "okay, don't worry about it..."; talk on defense, calling out screens left/right, switching properly, containing my opponent with the ball, pushing them to the sideline or baseline, knowing that I may 'stop' them, but they are not going to get a layup off of me;  reminding myself to be sure to block out the shooter and also block out inside and have my arms in a ready/rebound position, and lastly, reminding myself what Coach t always talks about: "being a leader on and off the court..."...Wow, what a Blueprint, right? So, let's reread this, talk about it with our Parents, and prepare for the one of the most exciting experiences in the game: Tryouts!!

Feel free to email me your fears, doubts and overall lack of self confidence if you wish to discuss this further...That is what makes our Student Athletes more prepared than most: we talk the walk...we visualize success before the lights go on...we know the 2 Habits in Basketball...we know the 2 Ways to play the game...we know the 3 Speeds, and will use them when applicable...and WE KNOW how to react, act and respond to adversity, because Coach t says: "...adversity and/or failure and mistakes are the beginning of developing the courage to compete..."...

Let's get'er done!! Begin now, today for tomorrow's success...Bottom line: have Fun...have FUN!! Always...

Coach t