Dawn Staley, the very successful women’s basketball coach at the University of South Carolina made a statement that really rang a bell for me. Her comments were directed at a group of young basketball players but what she says applies very clearly all sports.
“Problem is, y’all got Big League dreams with backyard work ethic. And your parents applaud it!”
Let’s dive into this statement. I believe the first point is a simple one, that many players talk about wanting to be great, but their actions don’t back up that talk. They talk a good game but don’t back that up with a work ethic that will allow them to achieve at a high level.
Now the second point, that parents enable their children to underachieve is a little more complicated. Many parents really don’t know any better, so they support their kids unconditionally whether the kids are hard working go-getters, or not very motivated. All they know is that they should support their kids so they do so.
You can certainly surmise from Coach Staley’s statement that she sees this unconditional support as a problem or at least a challenge. It’s not a problem for parents to support their children, but it is a problem to let your kids aspire to greatness and then allow them to slack off at the same time.
Parents, if your kids are talking about being great then we need to help them understand how challenging that quest will be. We must encourage them to work as hard as it takes to achieve the goals they are talking about chasing or help them understand that they can settle for smaller goals that match up with their work ethic.
Both options are good ones. Choose wisely!