I n the first part of this article we identified the importance of understanding the athlete’s story and our role as coaches in that story. We also shined a light on emerging adults and the stressors that this groups faces in a unique period of their lives. There is a growing body of research that is identifying many of the hurdles that must be overcome and some practical solutions as a leader in this groups story.

D r. Tim Elmore is the founder of Growing Leaders which is a nonprofit organization that works to equip emerging adults with leadership skills. Dr. Elmore believes that this population does, “not need more information, but people in their lives to help interpret information”. He goes on to highlight the importance of the need for a figure in their life that is able to assist in understanding emotional intelligence or “self-awareness and self-management” as they work through issues while still having a perspective where, “they see a big picture, and it’s not about me.” “Tell them the future. This is where you are going.” He encourages! (Elmore 12 Sept. 2013)

S imilarly, psychology research colleagues Gabriele Oettingen and Angela Duckworth promote the strategy of mental contrasting which, “means concentrating on a positive outcome and simultaneously concentrating on obstacles along the way. Duckworth further explains that, “we need to get away from positive fantasizing about how we’re all growing up to be rich and famous, and start thinking about the obstacles that now stand in the way of getting to where we want to be.” (Tough 2012)

T ime after time we find that the solution to answering questions of where we can help yields a similar result.. Emerging adults need a coach/mentor that will be a guide to show them how take a step back in order to see the big picture of overall goals, meaning, and when to focus on details in order to get over hurdles.  
How You Can Intervene In Your Athlete’s Story:
1. Set the Stage

 Everyone wants to feel that the time they spend at work is making their world a better place. So figure out, communicate, and underline the long-term mission that your team is working towards.” (Cason 2012) states Matthew Bellows, CEO of Boston-based startup Yesware. This generation yearns to work for a purpose. Set the stage for the athletes to act out a great story in which everyday matters.
2. Build Relationships

Tim Elmore highlights that this generation he calls iY is, “social, but not relational.” (Elmore 12 Sept. 2013) Create opportunities for your athletes to talk about their individual story to the group. Consider asking questions and pursue thoughtful answers. 
3. Model

If you are looking to change a pattern of behavior, find a model that is doing it right. A pro athlete, teammate, fictional character or anyone that is living out the message everyday (preferably a visual example) will always send a message that sticks, but never underestimate the power you have as a coach to be their best model as they watch your life.
4. Coherence

With all of the stimulation and information in their world, it can be tough pulling all of the pieces together to make meaning. Your athletes want to know why all of the time they put in matters, and don’t be surprised if wins and losses are not enough. Individual members of the team will have different stories. It is often the job of a strength coach to pull the group together and unite with a story or carry the flag of the head coach’s message through the off-season.
5. Flow

We have all programmed a lift or a drill that was too much for an athlete to handle physically, or one that was too easy and we lose their attention. When an athlete performs a drill on the edges of their ability, their focus is heightened and skills are optimally called upon to complete the task in a mental state that psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (2008) calls flow.  When working with an athlete to get over challenges in the weight room or in life, help keep their steps on the edge of their current skill level so the body adapts to the challenge and their attention is focused on the task at hand.
6. Edit

When our coaches watch game film, they see two to five seconds of play. Timeouts, commercial breaks, and the band at halftime have been edited out.  Our athletes are taking in information for their story constantly and many characters, plot, themes twist and terms will move in and out of their story. We as coaches will have the opportunity to help establish their focus on the important things and guide their self- edit for what isn’t needed.
An athletes’ story is much like the film before the edit. Our job is to help them focus on the parts that matter. Anything that doesn’t help them reach their goals or live a great story gets cut.
7. Halftime

The locker room is filling up with a hundred people telling stories and talking strategy. It’s halftime and what is happening is a chaotic audit. This time is scheduled to allow teams to find out what is working and what isn’t, and make the appropriate changes. Halftime is also a chance for rest and recovery before the game resumes. Often, athletes need someone to stop them and assist in an audit of what is working for their story.  You may even find that you provide a moment of rest that rejuvenates their spirit to keep on moving forward.
O ur character Jim from part one of this article never made it to the league, but life goes on. He moved back into his mother’s house instead of buying her a new one. There are no job offers and definitely no money. The haters are still there but now Jim must deal with the fact that they were right.  What matters now is how Jim reacts. What story is he telling himself? How he responds at this moment may mean everything for his future. We as coaches absolutely have the ability to impact Jim or any of our athlete’s narrative identity for the better. We are leaders in the midst of a changing period of time where the emerging adult in our care is searching for someone to step up and intervene in their story.
Thanks for reading! Stick around for the next edition of Coaches Corner every other Monday.
About The Author 
Curtis Turner came to Georgia Tech in 2013 as a player development coach. Prior to his arrival on The Flats, he spent 10 years on the strength and conditioning staff at Vanderbilt. Turner served on Vanderbilt’s staff as an assistant speed, strength and conditioning coach from 2003-10. During that time, he assisted in all facets of player development for football training programs. In 2010, he was promoted to director of strength and conditioning for men’s basketball, a role he held until he departed for Georgia Tech in May 2013. Turner has trained or assisted in the training of nearly 40 current or former professional athletes, 13 all-Americans and more than 50 all-conference selections. An active speaker, coach and clinic organizer, his programs have been featured in  Men’s Health  and  Golf Digest  magazines and on Yahoo! Sports and ESPNU All-Access. He is certified by the College Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA). Turner graduated from Clemson in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology education.
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