Updated: Feb 10, 2020
Written By: Leo Totten, MS
Head Coach, Totten Training Systems
Head Coach, East Coast Gold WL Team
One of my favorite things to do first thing in the morning is to tune in to Mike and Mike on ESPN. I like to catch up on the latest scores and the back and forth banter of two very cool sports talk show hosts. Mike and Mike often bring on special guests who offer their expert opinions on the topic of the day.
Herm Edwards, an outstanding football coach and now expert analyst, was brought in to discuss the professionalism (or lack thereof) of a particular pro athlete. His perspective was very enlightening and his point was how he breaks down athletes into two basic categories – those who are “interested” and those who are “committed”.
As a coach, how many times have you come across athletes who talk a big game and have big plans on doing this or achieving that? But when push comes to shove are they just “interested” in attaining those goals or are they really “committed” to doing all that it takes to actually make it happen? Are they willing to put in the long hours and discipline to persevere through the highs and lows that it will inevitably take to get to the top? Are they willing to do the things off the platform and away from the coach’s eye that are needed to continue their progress?
Get to know your athletes. Dig in their psyche. Find out what makes them tick. Don’t assume that each person is the same with the same aspirations or same motivations. Do what needs to be done to help them maximize their performance for what “they” want and need, not necessarily what “you” want or think they want.
Don’t get me wrong. As a coach, you absolutely treat the athletes as if they are as committed as you are and as you know they need to be to reach their true potential. You always push them to do the things they need to do to succeed. You always try to get them to evolve from someone who is just “interested” into that “committed” athlete doing what they need to do.
However, don’t beat yourself up or get frustrated if your athlete doesn’t “get it”. You can only do so much and the athlete himself or herself has to get it into their heads that all the little things that need to be done when you aren’t around can only be done if they are truly “committed”. Keep pushing but understand that all athletes are different and have different motivations.
Reminds me of the great “bacon and eggs” analogy – the chicken is “interested” but the pig is “committed”!