Sports have been an integral part of my life from a very young age. From the time that I could walk I was throwing footballs, dribbling basketballs, and perfecting my softball swing. Sports were my outlet, sports were what I could turn to when nothing else in the world seemed to make sense. I played my heart out each and every game, and when you're young that's all that's expected of you. But as you get older, your best isn't always enough. Consequently, you begin to expect more from yourself. Each time you endure these blows to your psyche, it affects your game as well as your confidence. A lack of certainty in promising young players calls for a reliable, trustworthy leader to look up to. Lucky for me, I had a coach that was all that and more. One who helped me to rebuild my confidence instead of contributing to its decline.
This coach recognized my talent, but also saw that my lack of confidence was hindering my growth as a player. They knew I had an inextinguishable passion for the sport, but that my mind was clouded by self-doubt. The amount of one-on-one instruction I received from this coach far surpassed any guidance I had ever experienced from anyone. Improvement of my game on and off the court was catapulted thanks to coach's unique drills and assignments. This included keeping a journal and having me write positive reinforcements in it such as "I am awesome" 100 times (or in coach's words..."until it sticks."). Their constant guidance, reinforcement, and undying faith in my abilities was enough to restore my confidence and further fuel my passion for the sport I loved so dearly.
Thanks to my coach's dedication, I had nothing holding me back from reaching every goal I had set for myself from the time I was little. Team captain, all-star recognition, scholar athlete banquets. All because this one person believed in me more than I had ever believed in myself, and they never let me forget it. I owe every accomplishment to them because there's no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't have even come close to reaching my potential without their constant guidance. This coach's words of wisdom have followed me far beyond high school sports and they remain my voice of reason to this very day. A voice that urges me to walk in kindness, dedicate myself 100% to every aspect of my life, and most importantly that having faith in myself will take me to places I'd only once dreamed was possible.
I can never thank my coach enough for everything they've done for me, but what I can do is pay it forward. I would be satisfied with helping just one person to realize that everything they've ever needed to succeed lies within them, that their childhood dreams aren't so far out of reach, and that faith in themselves is the trait that will ultimately drive their passion for life. Thanks again Coach, I can never repay you.