If you spend any time around kids sport, you’ll always here people say things like “that Jimmy Smith is such a talented kid”. Is that true though?
Does obsessing over a sport, watching every minute possible, pestering your parents for the team jersey, discussing it endlessly with your mates, then practicing elements of the game in the back yard over and over again constitute talent? Or does it sound more like hard work?
How many stories are there of kids whose rose up out of the ghetto in any number of sports, overcoming all manner of adversity to become the leaders in their chosen sport.
Kids who are prepared to work will make it!
As coaches we have to nurture that attitude to hard work. I’ve previously written about what I call the Talent equation and how we as coaches can and can’t impact the education of young athletes.
What we must not do as coaches is "bog down” work ethic by over obsessing with technology and / or technicalities. Yes, I use heart rate monitors and LPT’s (Linear Position Transducers) in an Auto-Regulatory capacity.
But, that said there is definitely a balance, maybe better termed “the art” of coaching young athletes to self-regulate their effort and intensity. Not in order to “pace” themselves, but rather in order for them to know how “hard” to push themselves to surpass their opponent.
It is said that "the more your bleed in peace time the less your bleed in war". I’ve always taken that to mean that the harder you work in preparation not only the better your physical capacity for combat, but also the greater your self belief when “questions” are asked of you. Without doubt I would define this as resilience, and in my mind a resilient athlete never ever gives in.
The addition of more technology to a program is not always what is needed.
For example, you'd think that with all the iPad productivity apps, smartphone productivity apps, productivity blogs, techniques and discussions... that everybody would be more productive as a result, and we’d get more done in less time and all be kicking back at the beach on hot afternoons (in Australia anyway).
Are you more productive? How much more?
"I wonder how much productivity comes from new technology, and how much comes from merely getting sick of non-productivity and deciding to do something that matters" Seth Godin
Sir Isaac Asimov wrote more than 400 books, on a manual typewriter, with no access to modern productivity tools. I find it hard to imagine that an "app" would have helped him write many more.
The instinct to produce great work doesn't require a fancy notebook. It requires a bit of “elbow grease”.
As coaches consider these two points;
Don’t over complicate your athletes. Find the right balance between the technology / science and the brutality of hard work.
Don’t over complicate your work. Find efficient systems and focus on the things that really matter…not necessarily the things that look good on a spreadsheet.