Saturday, August 19, 2006

"She's a Beast!"

It's nice to know you've made an impact on young people, although sometimes it is not always immediately apparent.

All of the incoming freshmen at DeSmet are attending retreats this week. Kevin worked the Thursday retreat and spoke to his group on integrity. He needed a volunteer, but told the group he needed someone really strong--someone who had attended the weight training camp taught by Mrs. ???? Several boys chimed in with "Mrs. Fober!" The eventual volunteer followed that with an enthusiastic "She's a beast!" Mr. Fober responded with, "Thanks for the compliment. I'll let her know."

I will take it as probably one of the highest compliments one can receive from 9th grade boys. Kevin pointed out that it is really good these guys get to know both of us; and that both us are quite different from each other, as spouses, but also very different from their parents. These guys are a little lacking in diversity, given they attend a fairly affluent, suburban all-boys Jesuit high school.

During the camp, I made a point of doing many of the push ups, planks, lunges, bodyweight squats, running tech drills etc. with the guys so they could observe good technique and see that it WAS possible to accomplish what we were asking of them. I also squatted, power cleaned and standing long jumped for them. My abilities are decent for an old lady, but nothing special. It certainly livened up the atmosphere and it gave them a role model for doing things they don't normally see their sport coaches doing.

With my young athletes (and master athletes), I firmly believe in the power of live demonstration of new motor skills. It helps build confidence and sends a message that I am only asking them to do things that are also obviously important to me. There is a sort of integrity there. I'm not the coach who's 50 lbs overweight who simply barks out orders between cigs or uses training activities for punishment. I say what I mean and I walk the walk. These kids need adults who lead by example more than ever.

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