Social Implications of Success
By Joe Ulm
I had an interesting conversation with a friend over lunch this week. It went something like this:
Friend: “When my daughter knows she’s one of the best in her group at a game, task, sport, etc. she shines. She acts with confidence, doesn’t worry about making mistakes, and just has fun. But when she perceives others in the group are better than her, she acts small – worrying about mistakes, what other people in the group will think of her, etc. If she just did her thing and didn’t worry about mistakes or what others with think of her, then she would get better quickly – and maybe even be one of the best in the group in time.”
Me: “Is the group judgmental? Does she get teased or picked on if she makes a mistake?”
Friend: “No, not at all. It’s a great group of girls – supportive, encouraging – all that. I think she just worries about what they’ll think, mostly.”
The conversation got me thinking about how this applies to our players. As parents, we know how powerful friends and social influences can be on our kids – after all, we were kids once, too. The difference here is that we have the opportunity to use what we learned to create an environment where social pressure means players are encouraged to work hard to achieve their goals, and where failure is both expected and supported. Because failure is how we learn and grow; it’s how we become successful.
Creating this type of environment isn’t easy. It will take more than club leaders and coaches – it’ll take all of us encouraging and supporting our kids. At home. On the field. Together. United.