Be The Best You Can Be
By Wes Simmons

As the clock ticked down to zero in the final moments of my college athletic career, the reality and finality of it all began to set in. It almost felt like a death of sorts. In many ways, it was. From the time I was 4-years-old, I identified as an ATHLETE. All of a sudden as a 22-year-old man, IT… WAS… OVER. As I sat in the locker room with a trail of tears burrowing through the dirt left on my face from the game, I began to mourn the “death” of an athletic career. Maybe more forthcoming, it marked the end of my performance-based identity as an athlete.

“What now?” I remember thinking. The only logical next step to me at that time was to begin coaching. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to begin my coaching journey as a Graduate Assistant at my Alma Mater. Though it didn’t quite fill the void of no longer playing, I was excited and thankful to join the staff that had made such a tremendous impact on my life.

But, I have to be honest. My motivation starting out was not to impact others like my coaches impacted me. I didn’t get into coaching because I “loved kids.” I didn’t have a vision to use my platform to “impact lives.” I got into coaching because I loved the game. More than that, I loved the idea of keeping my identity based in the sport I loved. Looking back I now realize that because relationships did not factor into my PURPOSE as a coach, I coached ONLY in the 1st Dimension.

Coaches, we need to be great in the 1st Dimension. Don’t hear me wrong. We need to be great at coaching the fundamentals of our game if we want to be great coaches. Period. There is no substitute for working hard, instilling proper technique, drilling the fundamentals, and demanding technical/tactical excellence from our athletes. However, if that’s ALL we focus on, we will most likely miss the opportunity to be agents of transformation in their lives. At the 3D Institute, we desire that you become a transformational coach by learning to coach in all 3Dimensions.

For transactional coaches it’s all about performance. Transformational coaches embrace the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their athletes. They honor and recognize that these athletes are their parents’ most dearly beloved and prized possessions. They understand that they (and their peers) are the future husbands and wives to our daughters and sons. They are cognizant that these young people are the next generation of leaders and mentors. They realize that the athletes who come into their programs are not merely players to be used toward their own end. Rather, they are people entrusted to their care.

To care well for an athlete, we must coach in all 3Dimensions. We all know that there is more to an athlete than just the physical. Under that helmet, there is a mind replete with thoughts and emotions. Behind that jersey is heart full of hopes and fears. We ARE 3Dimensional beings, and all 3Dimensions are so intricately interwoven that one will affect the other two. If coaches will be just as deliberate about coaching the 2nd and 3rd Dimensions as they are the 1st Dimension, not only will the athlete perform better, but life transformation will occur and we can help athletes be the best they can be… on AND off the field.

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