My daughter is the type of child who thrives on organization and structure. Because of this, we sometimes put systems in place that will set her up for success. We created a list of questions to consider before making a comment. (Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it respectful?) When we wanted to empower her to take control of her preparation for school, I created a checklist that she utilized during this school year. She took such pride in checking off each task. Letting her choose different color dry erase markers to check off those tasks brightened her mornings. The checklist and added responsibilities has also made our family's daily routine run significantly smoother.
Now, we are bringing this mentality to her athletics. My daughter has really begun to enjoy playing soccer. Being a part of a team, practicing to improve, her competitive nature, and the physical activity appeal to her. She’s made so much progress that we can’t help but be tremendously proud. In the span of a few months, she has gone from being unable to dribble a ball to a solid contributor to being an offensive dynamo and a competent, strong defender. After a strong start to her fall 2017 season, she hit a rut. She had a practice in which she didn’t work at her usually high level. After finding out that she was physically o.k., she bounced back with a solid practice the following week. But, her effort wasn’t quite what we’d come to expect. The game that followed was a disappointment. Her team was thoroughly outplayed and soundly defeated. We wondered if it was the soggy field. We wondered if she had a cramp. We wondered if she was just not interested. Unfortunately, she had no real answers for us. Although she scored a goal, she knew that this was far from her best effort. We always tell her that we don’t care if she wins or loses, but she just has to try her best and have fun.
The next day, Camilla asked me if she could have a checklist for sports. I was impressed by this mature request for a self-reflection tool. I went to work developing something that could help her. I was inspired by Columbia University’s Women’s Basketball team’s motto: EDGE. EDGE stands for Energy, Discipline, Grit, and Excellence.
Using this as inspiration, I thought an acronym was the way to go. Somehow I came up with DRIVE, which stands for Determination, Reaction, Intensity, Vision, and Energy. Camilla was really excited about this acronym and thought it would help. And it has been a huge success! Now, our trip home after a game or practice, my daughter shares her assessment of her own performance by using DRIVE. She gives herself checks, half-checks, or no checks for each category. She is very fair when critiquing herself. It seems as though she is thinking about her intensity and her vision with the ball and how she reacts during her games. She even decided to make a how-to-book at school focusing on DRIVE! Even though this system has been helpful, what is most important is that she has fun. I often remind her to bring grace, confidence, and joy to what she does. When she displays those, she tends to be successful.
Oh, and by the way, she had a rematch against that team that beat her squad so handily. She returned the favor, scoring 7 goals and preventing a handful of goals from being scored. And she definitely gave herself all checks on her DRIVE checklist after that effort!