By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
“You got this!”
“Get after it!”
With some simple creativity, Mogadore track and field coach Kim Kreiner delivers positivity to her student-athletes.
And she uses post-it notes to do it.
As part of an extension to the Wildcats’ core foundational beliefs, Kreiner’s simple, short, but uplifting messages are designed to show her athletes that she cares.
She hopes they make them smile and sometimes she intentionally uses them as a motivational tool.
Once she has her notes written and ready, she walks the school hallways and plants them onto the front of her athletes’ lockers so that they will be there to greet them when they arrive for the day.
Kreiner started the notes about six years ago and it has become such a part of the team building that her track athletes now periodically ask her when she is going to put the next batch of messages up.
“When I started, the boys and girls track teams were very small, maybe between both teams we had a total of 30 kids,” Kreiner recalled. “I was trying to come up with ideas to motivate kids and just try to make track something that they could look forward to. Some sort of way to get them excited about the sport.
“As I was competing at the professional level, my coach would always do things to try to motivate me for meets and practices,” said Kreiner, who competed in the javelin in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. “I found that her doing that really did help me push myself even on the hard days. Let’s face it, there are some days that you don’t want to practice or just are not feeling it. So I want these kids to feel good about themselves.”
And so the idea for the post-it notes was born.
They include motivational phrases, smiley faces and post-it notes can be earned during meets by setting a new personal record or school record.
Now that the Wildcats’ program has grown to almost 60 kids, that means a lot more notes for Kreiner, but she welcomes the extra work.
“I want to show these student-athletes what they are capable of and that they have people that care about and support them,” Kreiner said. “That they can get through even the rough days and the power of being positive. This is how we run our program and these ideas, concepts or values run true outside the track oval or throwing circle. In everyday life, school, college or life after college, the students are capable of doing whatever they put their minds to. They just need to step outside their comfort zone.”
Here’s to sending a post-it note back to Kreiner for a simple, great and fun idea.
“Well done, coach!”
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