When you think of Russell Crowe, who has been in a bunch if great movies, you will probably think of the scene where Maximus throws his sword into the crowd and asks the question we referenced in the title. He follows that line up with the question, “Is this not why you are here?” which is really the subject of they blog.

I have the pleasure of working with a bunch of highly motivated and hard working kids. These kids come to their lessons with a smile on their face and a willingness to learn that makes me look forward to seeing them every week. We work hard, have fun and accomplish something every lesson.

And…then there are a couple kids who really make me wonder some times about, as Maximus asked, “Is this not why you are here?” There are a couple kids who drag their bats into the cage like it weighs a thousand pounds, with a frown on their face that says ” I would rather be doing anything else right now!” Now, I always do my best to coax some enthusiasm out of them. I work hard to make things fun at the beginning to amp up their excitement and if nothing else, trick them into getting something out of the lesson. Sometimes these tricks work out well and sometimes…

When all else fails I ask the kids why they are coming to lessons if it is something that they appear to dread so much and they usually say something about how their parents are making them come. Which then leads me to a discussion with the parents to strategize about how to make the situation better. Some solutions work great and these unhappy students move into the first group we discussed who look forward to lessons. Other times the situation stays about the same and we continue to try new ideas until that player either improves their outlook or they take a break. And very rarely I have to “fire” a student and suggest they find another instructor because when it gets to the point where I am not excited about working with a player there is no reason to keep beating that dead horse.

So the moral of the story is a simple one. Why is a player coming to lessons? Why are they here? Finding the answer to these questions is crucial if we want real learning to take place. A great quote goes something like, ‘Nothing great is ever accomplished without enthusiasm!” so if a player isn’t enthusiastic about lessons then the lessons are probably a waste of time and money. Now that doesn’t mean a random day where a players enthusiasm wanes is a sign of a major problem but when that bad day is almost every day, we need to take a hard look at things. Maximus asks a very good question.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?