Posts Tagged ‘hard work’
Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
A post by Anthony Donskov on Mike Boyle’s blog called Not Everyone Gets a Trophy, and a discussion with some fellow strength coaches from Massachusetts inspired this.
Obviously building self-esteem is important with kids, and it is an important part of a strength coach’s job when you work with young athletes. I’ve seen parents come in our facility and flat out tell me their kid “suck at baseball”, or “runs like an idiot”. I am always amazed to hear those comments coming from THEIR OWN PARENTS!
“OMG, you suck at basketball!”
But quite frankly, I see both extremes. The other extreme being that some parents just simply reward too much! Again, I am all for improving kids’ self-esteem in sports and other areas of life because that will carry over to their adult life.
To me, there are core values that will shape your life forever that need to be transmitted at a young age: discipline, hard work, dedication, perseverance, etc.
To quote Anthony: “I miss the good old days! A time where hard work, commitment, discipline and positive attitude were expected, not rewarded, failure was not final and earning meant sacrifice.”
If you reward your kids for every single thing, they will never learn what it takes to succeed.
I understand that it can be tough for kids to lose, finish second, fail a subject in school, but guess what?! It’s normal! It’s part of something we call life! Not everyone wins all the time, we don’t succeed at every single thing that we try, and you know what? It’s OK. You’ll get over it, and if you learned a lesson, you’ll work even harder to succeed next time!
Kids do need to be rewarded when they do great things, when they win, when they get an ‘A’ in school, but they also need to learn what it feels like to fail, and learn that it’s normal. You can’t expect a reward every single time to act the way you’re supposed to!
When did boosting kids’ self-esteem came to the expense of everything else that’s important in life?!
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Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
We live in a funny world, don’t we? Most athletes, parents, clients and a lot of people around are judging your work as a strength coach by how tired you can make them during training sessions. Following a Crossfit, P90X or other non-sense training system, people always seem satisfied with the results because they work hard. After all, isn’t it what it’s all about?
These quotes make plenty of sense, don’t they…..
As a strength coach or a personal trainer it’s very easy to exploit these training systems or use other training methods to make yourself look good to the uneducated crowd out there, who always believed that working hard is the only thing it’s about.
Since that stuff sells and attract a lot of athletes and weekend warriors, it’s not easy to drift away from those training methods and still make your athletes and clients feel like they’re accomplishing something, even though they don’t crawl out the door with not an ounce of energy left.
Let’s face it, what’s easier?:
- Beating your athletes to the ground every training session, and leaving them with the feeling they’ve worked hard? Or;
- Letting your athletes leave the weight room with some energy left, and sometimes even feeling refreshed, and having to sell to them why it is better than beating them to the ground when they’ve been led to believe otherwise all their life?
It’s an art to periodize your athletes’ training, and even more of an art to stick to it. When you’ve planned to back off the weights at the beginning of the off-season to give your athletes some time to recover and take care of the imbalances they’ve created during their season, do you really stick with the plan? Or do you get overwhelmed by the feeling that you should work them to the ground?
Managing training loads and volumes is critical, especially with high level athletes. If you think that training hard and crushing your athletes is the way to go, you’re going to have a serious problem working (and being successful) with College and pro athletes. I think I remember Sean Skahan, strength coach of the Anaheim Ducks in the NHL, saying that he feels more like a “recovery coach” than a strength coach at times. I couldn’t agree more with him.
There are times during a training year where it’s all about maximizing recovery and handling training loads so the athletes can still perform at the highest level and avoid getting hurt. Overtraining will drastically affect your performance level and make your risk of injury skyrocket. The in-season and early off-season phases are perfect examples; athletes have a lot of stress put on their body with a lot of games, practices every day, travel, school (in the case of college athletes), etc. That’s why they need a lot of recovery, injury prevention and corrective strategies during those times. A certain level of strength can be maintained, but the volume must remain pretty low.
Make sure you don’t take the easy way out. Do what’s right for your athletes, plan accordingly and resist the urge of just crushing them for the sake of it. They’ll become better, stronger and more injury resistant athletes in the long run.
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Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
As a strength and conditioning coach who works with a lot of teenagers, I am often asked by parents how much faster is their kid going to get by training with us. This seems to be one of the major concerns of a lot of parents who bring us their kid to train. It is mind boggling to me, mostly because the kids of the parents that come up to me to ask that kind of question are usually 13 or younger. Am I the only one who thinks there’s something wrong with that?!?
But regardless, I usually give a multifaceted answer to those parents. The points I’m trying to get across are:
- Despite what other sports training facilities might try to sell you, becoming lightening fast doesn’t happen in 6 weeks.
- At such a young age, there are a lot of things happening in a kid’s body. Getting faster will have a lot to do with the physiological development that happens when you’re a teenager. There are a lot of things happening in their body (hormones, growth spurt, etc) and these things will influence athletic development a lot. Before puberty though, you can’t expect drastic changes in a kid’s speed or strength. The changes you’ll see, even with good training, are going to be on a smaller scale until your kid hits puberty.
- Related to the last point, it’s important to realize that not all kids will hit puberty and develop at the same time. Because of that, you can’t expect your 4’8″ 12 year old son to be as fast on the field or on the ice as the one year older kids who are 5’6″ and hit their puberty earlier. Those are transition years; it’s hard, if not impossible, to compare kids to one another.
- Getting faster is about moving better (movement quality) and improving your strength to bodyweight ratio. Doing endless numbers of sprints and running the kids to the ground will not help them get faster. Improving the way you move is a process, just like improving strength. Overtime it will lay the foundations for your kid to truly become one the fastest and most dominant player on the field or on the ice. Just don’t expect that to happen overnight. It might take a couple of years…yes, I said a couple of YEARS.
- Consistency and hard work are going to be key to achieving athletic success. Just because you subscribed your kid to a sports training facility, doesn’t mean that results will magically happen. Your kid needs to be working hard and be dedicated to getting faster and achieving athletic success; and not just in the gym, in the practice of their sport(s) as well.
- Related to the last point, kids are kids. Internal motivation at a young age is not always very strong; a lot of it is going to be coming from the parents. Kids need to be supported and encouraged in what they do. That’s how they will develop that internal motivation to achieve their athletic goals, or whatever else it may be. Kids don’t need to be told “you’re not fast enough”, “you’re so slow compared to your teammates”, “are you even trying?”, etc. Positive reinforcement and encouragements will make your kid want to keep getting better, even in a period of transition when they happen to be smaller and slower than some other kids they play with. That’s when they need the support because they can become discouraged very quickly.
Speed, like athletic development in general, is a process. It’s important to see it as a long term project that you need to be working hard for throughout the years. Work hard, be consistent, don’t give up when you’re faced with obstacles, and most importantly BE PATIENT. This is a message that kids, AND especially parents must understand. Getting faster, or quicker, or stronger, or a better (insert sport) player takes time. Going to a sports training facility to achieve your athletic goals is a smart move because we are there to help, but it is NOT like going to the doctor for a sinus infection; there is no quick fix or magic pill. Parents need to understand that.
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Tuesday, November 16th, 2010
I know there is a book out there with the same name, and apparently it is really good.
It has been recommended to me by a couple of persons but I have yet to read it (shame on me). But just by reading the title, I’m sure I will agree with what’s in the book and I definitely believe that quote to be true.
I have worked with many athletes so far in my career, and every kid is different; every one has a different level of talent, every one has a different attitude, a different work ethic, a different interest in getting better. Simply, they all are very different. And when you train them to become better athletes, you notice things in the way they behave and how much effort they put in.
Some of them are very talented and work very hard, some of them are average players and work hard, some of them are not very talented and goof off all the time. But what really strikes me is that even at a very young age (10-12 years old) kids start making excuses for not working hard. I’ve worked with many, and I mean MANY kids over the years that don’t work hard. Some of them it’s because they’re very good and they think they don’t need to improve since they are already the best player on their team and they have the talent to make up for the lack of effort. I totally don’t agree with that mindset, as I think this is wasted talent, and worse of all, it’s going to catch up to them sooner than later. But what’s even worse are the kids that are less talented who make up excuses for not putting in the effort. Most of the time, it’s the ones who are scared to be embarassed of not being as good as the talented kids, so they don’t even try. At such a young age, they don’t realize that even if they are not currently the best player on their team right now, it doesn’t mean they won’t be the following year, or the year after, or in two years. Eric Tangradi has been told at age 12 by a well respected coach that he was not good enough and that he could never play high level hockey because he didn’t have what it takes! Yes, that’s right at 12 years old! For those who don’t already know, Eric scored his first NHL goal a couple of weeks ago! He is one of the best example of determination I know, because he pursued his dreams no matter what people told him.
This simply amazes me: how can you tell a kid at 12 years old that he doesn’t have what it takes? Especially as a coach! You simply don’t have the right to destroy a kid’s dream at such a young age.
I have been working with a group a very young hockey players (under 12) for the last couple of months and we had our last session togheter yesterday. My words to them was:”Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough. If you want to become a better hockey player, you can. At your age, if you dream of playing in the NHL one day, you can. Each and every single one of you can. Whether you’re the best player on your team right now, or not. It might not be easy, and you WILL need to work hard and give all you have in every game, every practice and every training session you will have. Anything is possible. Anything is possible if you work hard. You need to stop comparing yourself to your teammates and the guys you play against, and focus on yourself and do the best you can do to become the best you can be. There is no limit to what you can achieve if you really want it. You have the potential, just use it.” As I finished my speach I looked at them and saw one of them drawing an imaginary picture on the wall with his finger. He probably didn’t get it. In fact, a lot of them probably didn’t get it or didn’t even pay attention. But if only one really got it and he makes the most out of it, I will be more than satisfied.
Talent is not what will get you to the top in the long run. Hard work and dedication will. It’s our job as coaches, trainers and parents to make kids realize that they have what it takes to get where they want; they just have to work as hard as possible every single day to get there.