“Sometimes (most of the time) I don’t know what I am doing, I’m just doing the best I can.”

A moment for personal reflection. A humanising moment. A moment of connection and realisation.

In my opinion, the most important moment of the SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY Parents and Coaches presentation.

At the start of each parent and coaches’ presentation, we play a game.

As the presenter, I read out a list of statements. The brief is simple. Stand up if you agree, sit if the statement doesn’t apply to you.

The statements start off as light, aimed at easing any tension within the room.

Me: “I got enough sleep last night.”

The room is usually split on this one. For the half that agree and remain standing, I remind them that as adults we need between 7-8 hours a night. With a sly smile, most attendees take their seat.

As the game unfolds. The questions get deeper.

Me: “I am comfortable talking about my emotions and feelings.”

Until finally, we come to the last question. The question I started this article with.

It’s a question I have personally reflected on a lot.

How often I have shied away from asking for help, speaking up or seeking support because I have been fearful of what others might think of me if I don’t seem to have it all together. If I don’t have the answer.

After I read the statement, I pause. We all glance around the room to see our peers standing together. There’s a collective sigh that resonates around the room.

For a moment, we are suddenly not alone. We are united in a shared understanding that we are just trying to do the best we can. For our children, for our athletes, for ourselves.

I prompt everyone to take their seat. We are now ready to dive into the presentation, hopefully feeling a little less alone and more connected as a group.

It is important to me that we start the presentation this way. My hope is that this activity will help to normalise that we all have doubts, we all have worries, we are all struggling together. We just don’t always talk about these concerns.

It’s a theme that we have ensured runs through the Junior Athlete presentation. We draw on elite athlete voices to speak to the concepts of pressure, self-doubt, fears of failure, worrying about others’ opinions of us, and the negative consequences of continual self-appraisal and comparison to others.

The sit-down, stand-up game is also a moment to humanise myself.

I am not a parent. I can only imagine the stress and pressure that parents feel navigating the current world and caring for their young people.

I do have my own experience in coaching young athletes, but am constantly learning and growing in the content that I am presenting.

When I coach I am constantly learning, I am constantly problem solving, I am constantly making mistakes. I have learnt to offer myself kindness in these difficult moments.

When things do not go to plan, when I make a decision that may impact my team in a way I didn’t intend it to, when I don’t have the answer for my athletes, I try to rationalise these difficult moments and offer kindness to myself.

“I am doing the best I can” is a mantra I keep coming back to. When I accept my own mistakes and flaws, I can move forward knowing I always have the best interest of my athletes in my heart.

I speak to my own personal coaching examples throughout the presentation in the hopes of normalising my own experiences and giving permission to the audience to also offer themselves kindness and support when things don’t go to plan or the way they intended.

I hope that by sitting in a room together, talking through our experiences and communicating some of our challenges, we can start to open a channel of support within the club.

When the parents and coaches leave the presentation, I hope I have made it clear that it is ok not to have all the answers. It is courageous to ask for help and support. It is liberating to know that we are all trying to work through our own challenges.

We are all doing the best we can and that is all we can ever do.