learning to be ms frizzle

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 08 2011

Teaching Desire

After two grueling nights of summer league coaching (one where I taught two teams at once) what I just can’t comprehend is why my girls aren’t trying. They seem to improve every practice, but I always sense that they don’t really want this. I can deal with low skill level, but it is the most frustrating thing in the world to deal with girls who aren’t trying. One bad play and the entire team gives up. I mean, my high school team had a similar skill level, but we tried. They complain about having to play freshman teams (when most of my girls are sophomores) which we all know we can defeat, and yet they are defeated by their attitude. I can teach skill, but how do I teach desire?

Sorry for the rant, but it hurts so bad to watch my girls loose to teams that are worse then them, not because skill but because attitude. Anyways, I won’t coach again until late July or early August. Hopefully institute will help me correct anything I may be doing wrong and teach me how to instill desire.

Speaking of Institute today is the first day of Induction! I am leaving in just over an hour. I am trying to finish pre-institute work, get ready, and double check my packing (space bags rock by the way!). I am really excited and nervous to start. I can not believe this day is actually here after mentally preparing for starting TFA in November. I have a feeling it is going to be a great and intense summer.

3 Responses

  1. DC Chillin

    Things like, good attitude, team play, effort, focus, etc. have to be TAUGHT, just like appropriate study habits, appropriate behavior in class, appropriate ways to have class discussion, etc. I learned this the hard way through coaching girls middle school basketball this year.

  2. BallerinaMathematician

    I’m volunteering at check-in for Induction and the 2010 CO corps (and other TFA staff) are beyond excited to meet you and the other 2011 corps!!!

  3. forthesprings

    Depending on the kids, the following works for me:
    1. Show them what desire, passion, and intensity looks like. Have them watch clips of Stanford and Nebraska playing. Have them watch the new Gatorade commercials. I have an awesome video of girls basketball that shows all of the emotions and attitude you need to have at a high level.

    2. Tell them, in the most inspiring voice possible (with emotion), that it is up to them and no one else. That you know that they can do it but they have to believe in themselves. “Believe” became our end of huddle chant before they went back onto the court.

    3. Encourage them to get angry and aggressive. I know that may sound weird, but especially for girls, it has to be taught. I often do drills with them that require aggressiveness, assertiveness, and contact. I show them what it looks like and “talk trash” at them asking them if they are scared to step up. The reaction and change is amazing when you challenge them to step up and show them that taking the initiative and being aggressive is ok.

    4. Give them a reason to show emotion. Let them know that everyone outside of the gym thinks x, y, and z. That they aren’t good enough; that they are just going to lose. Have them answer if that is true. Of course, they will say no. When they start to give up when the other team charges ahead, call a time out and let them know that the game is theirs and they should be insulted that they are throwing the ball down their throats. They should take it as an insult and go out there and take the game from them. No one is going to give them the ball or the point and they have to go out there and take it from them. “Our game” became another end of huddle chant.

    These are things that have worked for me to deal with the issue of giving up and not being determined.

    “Don’t give up” is another end-of-huddle chant, along with “Our Game” and “Believe.” Kids really do start to believe if you tell them to.

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