We travelled this weekend to a meet in Dubuque Iowa and had great successes with the team.  A consistent challenge to the coaches is to motivate the kids and get them ready to perform at their very best.  We try to reach each athlete in a way that is personal and effective. Some kids need a little humor to get them over a case of the nerves, some kids need a stern lecture on doing what they are trained to do, then they do it. 

We tell the kids that no matter what they do, they will be successful if they learn from the event. Falling off beam 4 times is also staying on 7 times. We try to focus on the positive and have them define success for themselves as attaining or at least getting closer to attaining their goals.  Taking the risk to fail is a brave thing to do, especially in front of a crowd.  Michael Jordan said it this way: [youtube=]

Jordan is a very motivating guy right?  This is due in part to his coach Phil Jackson, the Zen coach of the NBA, who believed in being a better athlete inside than anyone could perceive on the outside. Jordan spoke of being sure he didn’t finish where he started; growth was the goal.  He knew that he had something more important than courage. He knew that not every game would be perfect. Our gymnasts know too, that as long as they don’t finish where they started then they should train with patience and perserverence; eventually success will come. And it does. [youtube=]

But the best yet has to be this video. It makes the case for turning a deaf ear to the nay-sayers. Doing what is in your heart and sticking to your purpose until you achieve your dream. I tell my kids “let no one tell you that you cannot win, you will win just by showing them that they cannot beat you.”  Many times failure, by another’s definition, is thrown in our faces. Colonel Sanders tried over 1000 restaurants before one actually bought his “secret recipe”. Failure, perseverance and success. Never give up. When you think you can’t, you’re right. The secret is to never think you can’t.  [youtube=]

We trained our team and they took it seriously. They stuck to it when other teams told us that the little gym from Madison wouldn’t contend in this state. Our team trained harder.  We heard that we had a reputation for being tough, but the toughness we embrace is the philosophy that no one should accept less then their best. We had rough years, but we learned. We learned a lot. This week when you come in, look at the trophies on the front desk.  This is a team that wins….inside first, and never gives up.

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