E is for Effort

No matter the sport, putting forth effort goes a long way toward achieving success. We’ve all witnessed a player or team flat out change the outcome of a game simply because of determination and the will to win. It’s exciting to see momentum swing in the opposite direction especially when an opponent has been written off well before the whistle blows. Yes, the big “E” becomes an intangible asset that makes a difference in who walks away with hardware and who doesn’t. Running faster, playing harder, jumping higher and not giving up are key ingredients in the recipe for success. Break down any sport and game-changing opportunities are created when fundamentals meet perseverance. In basketball, just following your shot, boxing out, playing defense and hustling for loose balls can gain players measurable advantages.

Anything worth anything usually comes with practice, practice and more practice but it’s those who go the extra mile that usually reap the benefits. Diving, stretching and being fast on one’s feet are all athletic adverbs synonymous with effort. Lets be honest, It’s sad seeing players get emotional after a loss but its even worst when we know the effort wasn’t there. It’s always important to find ways to positively motivate our players. Some say bribing with candy or ice cream is fair game and I would be lying if I didn’t admit to using the same tactic. I’ve gone as far as buying a turtle to motivate and reward a player for excellence on the field. As a coach, the key is convincing the team that the reward is their accomplishment. Sports have always provided life lesson metaphors teaching kids more about themselves and how they can achieve.

Athletic prowess is often predetermined but effort is the secret sauce—the intangible that supersedes all of the above. You can hold your head high no matter the score knowing you left everything on the field. There’s no surprise athletes who win usually want to win and try their hardest to do so. However, I’ve personally witnessed sheer desire defeat undeniable athleticism. So the next time you’re coaching a player or team emphasize effort as a strategic advantage and watch the difference. The fruits of your wisdom will equate to less headaches and falsehoods about how great the player you’re consoling is. Convincing kids to believe in themselves can be intimidating but effort is something that can be implemented at any skill level.

My mom always said “a word to the wise is sufficient” so I remind my kids frequently that athletes who make the game look easy are usually the ones who practice the most! To sum it up I leave you with this little jingle that hopefully resonates my point… Effort alone can alter the ride home!