Toss me the ball kid!

October 6, 2009

You may not believe it looking at me today, but I used to be really skinny. And not only was I skinny, I knew I was skinny and therefore was not a confident athlete. I loved sports, but because I was not confident, (Lets face it, I was a scared, skinny kid.) I wold not go for it with gusto, and so I would not succeed most of the time.

One day I was in a park playing catch with a football, and this giant of a man shouted out to me, “Hey kid, throw me the ball!” Well, I was afraid to throw it because I thought this man wanted to steal it. (Did I mention paranoid, scared skinny kid?) But I was afraid not to because this man could crush me in one hand. (did I mention…oh yes, I guess I did.) So I reeled back and with all my might let go with a might heave, then I ran over to the ball and threw it again, because the first toss only went a few yard. I finally just handed it to him, embarrassed that I couldn’t throw the ball far enough.

Well this giant must have played ball once or twice, and he took the football and said, “Put your arm back like, this, hold your elbow this way…” and he proceeded to coach me in tossing a football.

I tossed it back and he said, “That’s good, now try…” and he pointed out how I could improve and made positive comments on my improvement. I felt like a million bucks.

I was flabbergasted, then fascinated then….I threw the ball, farther and farther and farther with each toss! With less than five minutes of coaching I could throw the ball two or three times farther than just a few moments before. Wow!

Did I suddenly become physically bigger and stronger? No It was all in the coaching and encouragement. That’s all it took coaching and encouragement.

We can make a positive impact on the people around us with two simple steps. To the people who look to you for advice, point the way, give directions, be precise as you coach. Then as you direct, encourage. Let them know what they are doing right. For me, as a kid of about 12, this was the first time I remember anyone ever saying, “good job, that’s the way to do it.” Those words of encouragement, along with the coaching made my day, heck it made my summer. I still remember it more than 40 years later.

And, just a few years latter I was the best fourth string receiver on my Jr. High team.

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