The Excitement of a New Season

Life comes at you quick.  It seemed like yesterday we were ringing in the new year, and here we are in the second week of March.  Where does the time go?

A great example of the time flying by is the start of the Major League baseball season in 19 days.  Here in southwestern PA, there are mixed emotions about the team this year.  Some think we might be talented enough to make a playoff run, while the majority of fans are bracing themselves for another long summer of losing baseball.  No matter what side of the fence you are on, I think the excitement for this year is growing day by day.

Personally, I like the feeling right before a new season.  I think we all look forward to the start of something new, and I am no exception.  From the Pirates fan’s perspective, you could be only a few short weeks away from the most memorable season of all time.  Sure, the wheels could fall off and the team could lose 100 games, but you just never know.  Every team starts opening day with a 0-0 record and everyone is tied for first place.  That is what is so exciting about the start of a new year…you just never know what the future will bring.

As a coach, you have a similar feeling about the start of a new year.  But in my experience, there is also a lot of pressure, stress and a lot of work to get done in anticipation of that opening day of competition.  We don’t really savor that feeling of an opening day like the fan does.  Don’t get me wrong, the excitement is still there.  It’s just a different feeling.

No matter where you are in your life, you are probably anticipating the start of something new on the horizon.  Maybe you are going to be starting a new job, moving into a new house or planning a wedding.  That is the start of a new season for you.  I am sure you have butterflies in your belly; just like the professional or college athlete when they step into the batter’s box on opening day.

Today I wanted to give you a few things to consider as you prep for that new season ahead.

First, I suggest you write out a plan on some paper and post it where you can see it.  That new season will be coming quick, and you want to “master” the first few weeks.  The plan will keep you on track.  On this plan make sure you checklist some things you want to complete and outline how you will accomplish them.

Second, come up with a theme or a slogan that will drive you every day.  I know it can be corny or cheesy, but having that slogan in the back of your mind when the times get tough will keep you focused.  A couple of good examples are “Believe” (used by our championship track team in the mid 2000s), and “Embrace the Challenge” (which I pull out a few times a year with my distance squad).  Whatever it is, it has to be related to your long term goal.

Lastly, remove the negativity in your life (and on your team).  If there is negativity in you or in those around you, it makes the journey difficult.  I bet your “new season” is already tough, but you are just making it tougher if you hear from those around you that you cannot accomplish the task.  You don’t need that in your life.  Surround yourself with positivity through motivational quotes, caring individuals and loving teammates (family and friends).

Good luck to all of you who are starting a new season – opening day is right around the corner!

Chris Hardie is the Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach at Waynesburg University. You can follow him on Twitter @Coach_Hardie_WU or follow the team on Facebook at Waynesburg University Cross Country.

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