When I was coaching I gave journals to all of my players and to the kids who came to our summer camps. I found that writing was a good way for them to set personal goals, learn about team concepts and discover things about themselves and each other.
Some players cherished their journals and even brought them home and used them on their own throughout the season. Others simply left them in their lockers for the times when we had organized writing exercises and goal settings. But I loved that every time we wrote in the journals, noses went straight to the page and pens where scratching away. The girls had things to say, thoughts to be written. I believe that all the players and campers benefitted from the experience in one way or another as it gave them the opportunity to delve into their thoughts on the importance of teamwork, attitude and work ethic, and also gave them a space for personal introspection and self-evaluation.
For the high school teams, I had the players write down basketball goals as well as some life goals, and then I tried to give a variety of thought provoking writing prompts. I used questions like: What does team mean to you? Give three things that you can do to help our team be successful this year. Name three goals you have for this season. What steps will you take to achieve these goals? What are three goals (non-basketball related) that you would like to accomplish this year in school? What would you like to be doing in five years? There are so many options to get your team thinking.
Journaling for campers (4th– 8thgraders) was similar, I just added questions that were a little easier to answer and to discuss if the girls wanted to. I used some questions similar to the ones above and added questions like: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? If you could be an animal, what would you be and why? What is something that you learned at camp today? What makes you happy? Write about someone who is special to you. Share a time when you helped someone. How did it make you feel?
Whether you’re a coach or a player (or anyone really), try using a journal, take time to look inside and reflect on your life and see what happens.
WRITING PROMPT: Choose one of the prompts above and get writing!