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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Practice started today

Track & Field season has officially started for our school. We have four coaches, and 120 athletes. I'm sure numbers will decrease as this week progresses; very hard days the rest of the week.

I worked with about 50 sprinters today. As we did some short sprint drills, I paused to give them a quick break, and to talk to them, and I was reminded why I enjoy coaching. I made a very simple comment that went something like this:

Okay, we're getting to the point where differences are made. We've run about ten 30-meter sprints. Some of you are tired. If you're not sweating, you're not working hard enough. But now is the time you make yourself better. You have to reach a point of being tired before you can improve your speed. Now is the time to dig down inside of yourself and see how much you want to be the best you can become. I can want you to be better. I can provide the exercises to get you better, but I can't make you better. That part is up to you.

It's a pretty standard speech we coaches develop over the years. But then something happened that I have missed for the past year and a half. All eyes were on me, they were attentive, and then one of the guys said, "Yeah, let's go. We can do this." Then a 7th grade girl responded, "I'm ready! C'mon everybody! Let's get better."

Fifteen minutes later (and about five minutes past the scheduled stopping time), with parents watching and waiting, their kids basically said, "We're not ready to go yet. We have things to do." The parents were very patient, although I do not like to go over time very often. But the kids were not ready to go. So we went for 5-10 more minutes.

Why is that kids, at all levels of ability, will give a coach this kind of commitment, yet many of these same kids do not have the same desire in the classroom? I think I'll ask them, because I really want to know. Speculation isn't good enough here.


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