I had a quick email exchange with a father this past week who was explaining to me why he hadn’t been back in touch with me to schedule an assessment.  He said he was trying to get a commitment from his son if the dad was going to spend the money.

He finished by saying, “Lately it seems like the youth are only interested in Xbox and Instagram and if he isn’t going to take this seriously, I don’t want to waste your time and my money.”

I hate to sound like an old guy, but back in my day, if we really liked a sport we went out and played it.  I’m not saying I was like Larry Bird and from sun up to sun down I shot hoops.  But, we didn’t live in a neighborhood and our friends were scattered throughout the city.  So my brother and I had to get creative entertaining ourselves.

And yeah, sometimes that meant we shot baskets for an hour.  Or, we would hit baseballs off the tee.  Or, just went outside and did something active.

I talk with more and more parents who have the same complaint, “Our kids don’t practice their sport on their own.”

We all know what the culprit is…today’s technology!  Heck, if I had some of the devices and games these kids have today, I’ll admit, I might have preferred laying on my couch with those devices rather than sweating outside on a hot day.

With everything young athletes have at their disposal, you would think more and more kids would take advantage of it:

  • Specialty coaches
  • Speed/strength coaches
  • Massage therapists
  • Camps

Here is what I see happening.  Kids practice with their sport team year round (unfortunately) 2-3 times a week.  A game or two here and there.  Then if they do some practice on their own, what they do is go to a specialty coach for an hour a pop.  But, beyond that they don’t work on their game.

Let’s face it.  Some of the practices the kids have doesn’t really help them improve their abilities.  If it is in the off-season, they feel that twice a week with a specialty coach is good enough to be considered as working on your game.  The other days are rest days because they deserve it.

I hate to burst these young athletes’ bubbles, but with most sports, that is not working hard on your game.  It also isn’t enough to get you to the level you need to be at.

You can still get some downtime on off days if you do it right.  You don’t need to spend the entire day working on dribbling.  You just need to dedicate some time to it.  Trust me when I see these athletes lying around for hours on end watching stuff, I know you have the time.

I’m at the point where I think if you want me to structure your “working hard on your game time” then I can do that.  That makes more work for me, but these young athletes haven’t quite grasped the concept of how to work hard on their game.  

Parents are constantly teaching kids aspects of life, why would this be any different.  So I’m going to tell you to put the phone down and go outside and shoot 100 shots, 200 shots, or 1000 shots.  I’m also going to tell you that you don’t have to like it, just put some effort in it.

Then come back in and be a slug, like you are the majority of the day.

If you fight me on it, then I’ll take pictures of you sitting on the bench dejected or record you complaining to me how you don’t get any playing time.  Or so and so is starting over you.  I will replay those to you and say I don’t want to hear this next season so you are going to do something about it and improve on your game whether you like it or not. ☺

Practices, games, “scheduled pick-up games”, everything is organized for these kids anymore.  So, we might as well organize them working hard.  Once they see the benefits of this paying off for them, they’ll start to get it right?  I mean what is the worst that could happen??

Photo courtesy of U.S Army on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/familymwr/