Not long ago I was on an international flight sitting next to an Australian woman who began to tell me about her 12 year old daughter. The young girl was described as very tall, already almost 6 ft, and struggling in women’s basketball and a derivative of basketball, netball. As her mother elaborated, "she lacks that competitive spirit and is very easily shaken during games especially when there's alot of physical contact."
I probed a bit and asked very pointedly, “Is she good?”. This mother was a former college basketball player, coach for another team, and very obviously a competitor herself so I expected a serious answer. “No, not really. But she's a great athlete” the mother replied. I said, “That’s great. Take her out of basketball as soon as you can.”
This came as a big shock to the woman because not only did this particular sport lineage exist in their family, but she was concerned because her daughter had “played her whole life”. At 12 years old, it was both funny and sad. She hasn’t had enough time on this earth to limit herself to just one sport, particularly when it was obvious that she was not enjoying it. After discussing her strengths and weaknesses at length, I suggested that she get her daughter in volleyball as soon as possible. She had an excellent vertical, great reaction time, and was more of a quiet calculated type of athlete.
About 2 months later, I received an email thanking me for the consultation and that her daughter was enrolled in volleyball and excelling at it. She was enjoying competition for the first time and improving more than ever.
Failure is your friend.
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