All coaches (hopefully not just me) have a list of "things perfect coaches say in perfect worlds". One of the many phrases on my list is "you don't need anyone's approval; just knowing you did your best is enough."
We all look for approval. And more often then not, we let that approval -- or lack of -- determine our post-performance attitude. It shouldn't be that way, it's true that knowing you did your best should be enough. But life has never been that simple. Babies look to their parents after falling to determine whether or not they should cry. Elementary students show pictures to their teachers to find out if they're "art". Middle schoolers search the crowd for parents' faces after volleyball serves or free-throws. College-bound seniors look to their coaches for permission to celebrate an astonishing win. And, this weekend, I looked to a friend for approval of a job well done.
It should have been enough that my players were among the top four competitors in a difficult tournament. Or that they showed an improvement in their skills and self-confidence. It should have been enough that parents thanked me and other coaches shook my hand. It should have been enough that I left that tournament smiling and proud of my state-qualifying team.
Instead, my feelings were crushed when my fellow-coach's reaction wasn't excitement. No congratulations or enthusiasm. The face staring back at mine was full of disbelief and annoyance. Instantly my mood changed... all my excitement was gone. My great tournament finish was tarnished.