I rolled my eyes during workouts this when this was said to a few of us as we followed one athlete’s lead who put the bands around her knees as we began to do a wall sit. “Don’t be a sheep” was repeated (louder each time) by our trainer before we realized that he was trying to tell us we were all doing it wrong. It was supposed to go around our wrists, which he had yet to say, but several of us mindlessly just followed each other’s lead and put it around our knees. While there is one slight positive lesson that can be learned about taking initiative and not always waiting to be told to do something as the first athlete did with putting it around her knees, there is a much bigger, more important takeaway from this story, Don’t Be a Sheep.
As I mentioned, I definitely rolled my eyes when this was said during the workout but it has stuck in my head since I left the gym on how this relates to junior golfers.
For starters, what does it mean to be a “sheep”? Basically, when this reference is used, you are saying that someone is following the crowd or the majority without really thinking for themselves. You just do what someone else is doing and don’t stop to think if it’s the right thing to do or if it’s what is best for you. To be honest, the majority of all middle school and high school kids are basically like sheep every day. They follow trends, they follow their friends, they follow the popular crowd, etc… never really stopping to think if they should be following or not.
When it comes to being an athlete, unless it’s your coach, your parents, your mentor, or your teacher telling you what you should be doing, you most definitely need to learn to be the exception to following what everyone else does. As an athlete you are expected to be different, not to necessarily be better than anybody else, but to know better and do better when it comes to making decisions and who you should be following.
It is very easy to follow what others are doing and to want to be part of the popular crowd, but, it is the ones who learn to pave their own path and think for themselves that see the most success in their sport and in life.
For girls who play golf, this is a very important topic because many times you are going to be the only one in your school or at your golf course who plays competitive junior golf. It can make life tough to always have to go your own direction and create your own path instead of following what everyone else is doing. But keep in mind, that doing something different, doing something you know is creating a strong, independent, mature young female athlete means so much more than simply being part of the “in” crowd.
And to be honest, in most cases when you do that, you will actually become part of that crowd naturally. But that is when the tendency to become a “sheep” will start to creep in and it will be easy to lose sight of your own path. So just always remember that paving your own way and thinking for yourself is never a bad choice. Only follow those who you trust have your best interest in mind and share the same goals that you have for yourself.
As an athlete, you have to think differently than non-athletes, your choices can have consequences that go beyond just a simple punishment or setback. Don’t be afraid to take some initiative, don’t always wait to be told what to do, but NEVER follow others without thinking about what that choice will lead to.