On Wednesday at Mastery Prep, we did a regular workout routine. Basically Alex gives the pep talk and I am the helper; walking around making sure every kid is doing the exercises they’re supposed to be doing. This was a good day; it was all about accountability and holding your workout partner accountable.

I noticed while we’re going through the workout that there were a few students who just did not want to do the workout, or who just weren’t giving their 100%. I approached them, trying to encourage them, encouraging their partner to keep them motivated and hold them accountable.

There was one student who didn’t want to listen to her partner, she usually does her workouts but this particular day she didn’t want to do it, and I recognized something was wrong. I approached her and asked her if everything was okay, I noticed that she wasn’t doing her workouts.

“I just don’t feel like doing it.” She replied.

“That’s okay,” I responded, “It’s okay if you don’t feel like doing it. I bet you didn’t want to come to school today either.”

“No!” she said, “I didn’t want to come to school today.”

Noticing a teachable moment I responded, “But you did, you came to school, so let’s try to make the best of it while you’re here, that’s the important part. Sometimes in life you don’t always want to do something. Sometimes you just have to move forward and push your emotions to the side and just give your 100% or just TRY, give what you have that particular day.” I went on to tell her that one of the things we’re trying to teach here is that mental toughness that allows us to push through, that this class is easy as long as she just tries; it’s an easy class to pass and dumb class to fail. Even if you’re not the most athletic or don’t work out the hardest, it’s okay; as long as you try. I related to her letting her know that I feel like that a lot of the time too.

Something clicked. She gave 100% on the remaining workouts; even on the most dreaded of exercises, push-ups. She did the most push ups out of anyone in the class that day. She said to me afterward that even though she didn’t feel like doing it, she felt really good about giving her 100%.

As a coach, I felt like I was able to build a relationship and was able to practice empathy and hear her out. I was thinking the whole time about how I felt when I was a child and felt like no one would listen to me, and I felt exactly that way during Gym. As a woman especially it is hard, and I want to help prepare these young women to be successful. I want her to keep pushing and keep striving.