What She's Not Telling Her Coach

coaching Nov 24, 2020


She works hard; you see that and you celebrate that with her. You know all she balances between school, sports and her social life. It is more than you ever had to balance, and you admire that about her.

What an amazing athlete you coach!

And you’re right, she is amazing. But she is also really good at hiding the worries that whisper in her ear. She conceals them in sweat, smiles and repeat suicides. Yet in the quiet moments, the alone moments, or even the moments when the crowd yells loud enough to tune you out, the whisper in her grows. She is good at hiding it. But Coach, don’t allow her ability to hide, abandon what she needs most.

Listen to what she is not telling you.

She knows what is expected of her. She knows all the right things to say to herself,

“You can do this!”


“The game is 90 percent mental.”

Even though she knows this, it doesn’t subside her anxiety or even fear. Because she pushes it down, with each game, match or race it grows. She doesn’t think she is allowed to be scared.

Her focus should be on practice, on improving, and on the team, yet outside of practice, a relationship is falling apart. The hurtful dialogue between she and her friend keeps playing over and over consuming her thoughts. She knows now is not the time to fixate on such things, but she doesn’t know how to stop.

The relationships she has on the team are important to her. She wants to be the best she can be. She even wants to be the best athlete you’ve ever coached. However dirty looks, nasty rumors, and resentment grow the better she is becoming. You will tell her not to worry about the other girls. But she does.  

“She wants to be the best she can be. She even wants to be the best athlete you’ve ever coached.”

She wants to be commended on her work ethic and talent, while at the same time, she cares about her hair, her uniform, and the way her face looks while competing. This makes her feel somewhat shallow, but she would like some reassurance that she still looks pretty.

It’s that time of the month. Her cramps are killing her, she is bloated and lightheaded, and with each passing minute she prays no one can see or notice anything that would give it away. Is it wrong that she feels like this? She’s too embarrassed to ask you, Coach.

The pressure of perfection is heavy. Most days she embraces the leader role, but somedays it feels like a burden. Will she let her team down? Her family? Her Coach? Is she really worthy of such a role? What happens if she fails? Is it even worth it to keep trying? She won’t confess these fears to you. She wants to be strong. She doesn’t want to let you down.

Coach, as wonderful an athlete as she is, she is still very susceptible to fear, conflict, jealousy, embarrassment and pressure (among other things). Don’t forget that.

Allow her to make mistakes. Teach her to cope with tough situations and emotions. Listen to the things she is not telling you.

Above all, love her. Not for the athlete she is, but for the girl she is. That will be something she cannot hide.

Play Now, Play YOU!

XO, Coach D


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