Academic, personal and sports related situations can mentally consume players throughout the course of a season. Being in a positive atmosphere can help players handle their roles as student athletes in the best way possible. Harding coaches addressed strategies for keeping a positive atmosphere in their teams and its importance on the players.
Tim Kirby, head coach of the women’s basketball team said the environment at Harding helps coaches keep the environment positive. Kirby said the positive things that happen on campus help, but that does not mean there are not negative things. However, students do not have to deal with the kinds of issues that happen on other campuses.
Kirby said there are issues and situations that most students deal with differently today than they did 15 or 20 years ago because of the immediate response they get. Kirby also said that one of the points of the program is to deal with those issues right away.
“There are things that happen just with the nature of being 18 to 22,” Kirby said. “Sometimes they hit you in the face because you were not ready for them. It is not easy to navigate through all of that.”
Greg Harris women’s head soccer coach said players should spend time getting to know each other, doing activities together and praying for each other, because these activities help build trust among players.
“We want someone to be able to talk, someone to be able to sit down and listen to that person that needs to talk,” Harris said. “That is very important because in season, all of us are going to go through ups and downs.”
Harris also said receiving support from teammates and coaches during difficult moments helps create and maintain a positive atmosphere. According to Harris, when one player commits a mistake, everybody else does too. If one player succeeds, so does the rest of the team. This not only helps to keep a positive atmosphere, but also creates accountability among players.
Paul Simmons head coach and offensive coordinator for the Bisons football team, said the team atmosphere depends on having the right kind of players, who are selfless with a high character. Simmons said these skills become more important during difficult times
According to Simmons, a good teammate bases his attitude on what is best for the team, including supporting someone who is feeling discouraged.