Athletes need to learn about accountability, because you have to learn it from somewhere. And if you can learn it in the safe space of sport, then by the time you get to junior high, high school, college, or your employment field, you’re already going to have some lessons that are already mastered. So, you’re not going to have to learn on the job that you need to be arriving 20 minutes early, before work starts. You’re going to know through sport that you have to show up early and make sure that you’re wearing the right uniform, the right equipment, you have the right attitude, the right mindset. And all of those are applicable in everything else that we do. Coaches can create a culture of accountability by allowing their athletes room to learn. It does us no good if we’re always setting our athletes up for success and they never experienced failure or defeat, we have to be able to put them in an environment where they’re going to learn.
They’re going to not always win, but they’re going to at least learn to fail forward. If a coach always wants to jump in and have the answers and provide that saving grace, that limits our athletes from learning those life skills that are going to be so important. With the individual sport like wrestling, I have my own accountability. I had to make sure that I was doing the best thing for myself, so that I could win and be as successful as possible in order to help my team. The more successful I was and the more ownership that I took over my own athletic career, the more accountability I could provide to my teammates, because I was no longer a liability, wondering, am I going to make weight? Will I show up for the airplane? Am I going to have the right uniform on? Do I know what the heck’s happening? Do I even know what country we’re going to be in?
And those are the things that if you want to be a good athlete, a good business person, anyone in all walks of life, you have to make sure that you can hold yourself accountable so that other people can do their jobs. Accountability in sport, it also teaches you that you have to be accountable not just to yourself, but to others. Even if you’re on an individual team sport, you still have to be accountable to your coaches, to your parents, to your friends, to your family. So, as an overarching theme, accountability in sport, it’s one of the most paramount pillars that we can offer our youth.