Keep Grinding

There are a bunch of variations of this statement that coaches all around the world are using to remind their players to keep working hard. Keep digging, keep hacking, row the boat, pull the rope, more team less me and on and on the list goes. When you find the tag line that clicks with your players you are going to keep using that tool as often as you possibly can because at the end of the day the teams that outwork their competition almost always come out ahead. There are instances where the super talented but not hard working team wins in the short term but for the long haul there is a connection between working hard and winning.

Well, the idea of a reminder to keep working hard doesn’t only apply to players now does it? It hit me square between the eyes the other day that coaches, instructors and parents all should keep following this golden rule that hard work usually beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Now I have always thought of myself as a hard working person so it was a bitter pill to swallow that I might have become a little complacent and the reminder was a simple one. I spent some time at a practice with a team and coach that I really respect. During that practice there were a hand full of instances where I had an amazing lightbulb in the head moment of seeing something or hearing something that made me go, “Dang, that’s a great idea!”.

Now to keep this all in perspective, I coached my first fastpitch softball game in 1977 so to say I am a veteran is an understatement. When I think back to those early days and over the course of a long time coaching I know I am a much better and more knowledgable coach today that I was back then. But the reality hit me when I went to this recent practice. Have I gotten much better in the last five years?

And that question is what got me thinking, and doing another round of soul searching which lead me to the conclusion that I have some work to do. The reality is the game keeps changing and that will require me to “keep grinding”. Technology has become a very valuable and useful tool that I was not taking full advantage of in my coaching and teaching. Partly because of my basic fear of technology and a little embarrassing realization that an old dog didn’t want to learn any new tricks I have fallen behind in an area that really connects with the kids I work with.

I always tell people that with Youtube and Facebook, not to mention all the other social media resources, you have access thousands of instructional videos and access the the knowledge of hundreds of experts. With the smart phone that we all have in our pocket we have the ability to use video and slow motion and stop action to help our players see and feel what we are trying to teach them. When it hit me that this old coach wasn’t taking full advantage of these tools it reminded me pretty quickly that if I want the kids I work with to work really hard I owe to them to follow that same advice. Duh!!

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?