I’d like to share with you an acronym that helps put into perspective characteristics that youth athletes should strive to achieve. This acronym is “KETO”. I will explain below the characteristics and why they are important for athletes to embrace.
K = Kindhearted
Kindheartedness is a value that athletes should integrate into their daily lives. To be a member of a team, it helps for team building to gain values of being kindhearted to one other. When each athletic team member is kind to each other, the team as a whole is likely to get along and bond. As team members embrace the concept of being kindhearted, their ability to work as a team will improve which can positively impact their success. Being kind towards one another will help team members feel safe with trying new skills and reaching higher level goals. Not only will the individual become a better athlete, but as a team the group of athletes will grow to higher levels together. How would you want your teammates to treat you? Treat others as you want them to treat you.
E = Empathy
When working with team, empathy is an important skill. As you bond with your teammates, having empathy for them is a good way to be supportive and build up your team. As an athlete engages in their sport for a long time period, they may make some mistakes throughout their sports journey. Mistakes can be made individually or as a team. When someone on the team makes a mistake, it is important that the other teammates empathize to help boost their emotions at a time they are feeling upset or sad. At this point, the athlete should imagine themself in their teammate’s situation. This way they can react in a manner to which they would want someone to react if it were them in this situation. How would you want to your teammates to speak to you after you made a mistake? Consider the importance of using empathy and lifting them up with kindness to help them emotionally recover quicker from a sports mistake.
T = Thankful
Being thankful and not taking your skills or achievements for granted is vital to becoming a modest and respectful athlete. During this time, think about the people around you and be grateful for your coaches, teammates, and the opportunity to play the sport. Some teammates may not have the same level skills, and it might make those who are more inexperienced feel insecure with those who have higher level skills. Be thankful for your teammates and coaches. Respect your coaches and help your teammates achieve higher level skills. Be thankful that you are able to be a part of the team and attend competitions. Gratitude is an important characteristic for an athlete to embrace because it helps put themselves, their skills and the sport into a realistic perspective.
O = Obsessive
When I describe this characteristic, the term “obsessive” indicates a healthy level of a desire to strive to continue to work at gaining new skills and to improve on the present skills that have been achieved. All athletes should be obsessed with gaining the highest level of skills in their sport. These are skills that each athlete is physically able to achieve. Each athlete should always strive to make improvements in their sports performance. Not only does this benefit the individual athlete, but it also enhances the team so that a greater level of success can be achieved at competitions. Listening to your coaches and trying your best at all times during competition includes being obsessed with reaching for the highest skill level for yourself and your teammates. This will result in overall team improvements and success.