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take a great player, put them in a toxic team. what happens? the great player becomes not-so-great. is it the player’s fault, or is it perhaps the environment?

something that has become increasingly more evident in the sporting world, and the world in general, is the importance of believing in a player / person.

despite playing in the WNPL, the highest local league in the state, the number of players who believe that they’re not good players is astounding. and troublesome too. how could a player of this caliber believe they weren’t good? as a player who believed this myth for 26 years, i can answer: from previous coaches.

when a player is overlooked, particularly a female player, she internalises it. she questions, what did i do wrong? why am i not good enough? how can i be better? and the saddest reality, is often there’s nothing “wrong” with her, other than she’s in the wrong environment.

this current season, i have a teammate who was overlooked at her previous club because he thought she “wasn’t good enough”. she comes into this team, and she starts. not only does she start, but she’s the rock in the midfield and defence. she’s a work horse. and most importantly? she’s an incredible person with such a compassionate nature.

so how do you explain this? did she miraculously become an amazing player? no. what changed was she had a coach that believed in her. a coach that knew she was good enough and committed herself to communicating that message during every game, every training, every interaction.

all it takes is for one person to believe in you. one person to help you realise - you know what? all those other coaches were WRONG. foolish, even, to overlook you. and i’m thankful that i play for a team in which our coach does just that. she builds players up, not breaks them down. and the effect? she’s developed players who are strong. confident. and fearless. players who finally believe, after 26 years, that they are in fact good enough. and that? that’s invaluable.

so be that kind of coach. be that kind of person. be better.

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