As a performance coach it’s often easy to focus time on developing an athlete’s physical qualities such as strength, speed, power, and endurance. These are aspects of training that kids tend to enjoy working at and witnessing their improvements. But the reality is that no matter how much you build these qualities within an athlete there’s still an element that can negate it all; Attitude. No matter how talented an athlete is, now matter what type of progress they make in the gym, the simple fact remains that no coach will want to do anything for you if they don’t like you. This can be a difficult concept to instill in youth athletes who simply believe that talent is all that’s necessary to climb to the highest heights in athletics.
In my 10+ years of working with youth athletes there really isn’t much I haven’t seen. With all the kids who have stepped through my doors I can truly say that you never know what you’re going to witness with each individual. Some of the most talented athletes can kill their careers before it ever gets going, and then there are those who surprise everyone and exceed expectations. But I guess what I’m really saying here is that as a coach the only expectation you should have is that an athlete focuses on what they can control, their effort and attitude. Speaking of the latter, I’ve dealt with and have seen too many kids who have poor attitudes. Oftentimes they don’t need to say a word because their body language stinks, their effort is poor, and their overall energy feels negatively charged. These are intangible qualities that kids aren’t always aware of, but can be a huge detriment to their goals.
Now I’m an optimist and I believe that where a kid is today doesn’t dictate who and where they will be when they’re 18 or even 21. I truly believe that most of the time kids are unaware of how crappy their attitudes are and how they’re being perceived. These are moments where It’s important to have the difficult conversation as coaches to help these young men and women understand how a coach’s perceptions can shape their reality. How being disliked can lead to a reputation that results in a lack of opportunities. But of course there are those kids who aren’t interested in the message. They’re used to an environment where coaches create inflated egos, and parents feel it’s their job to protect those egos. Unfortunately you can’t get through to these types of kids because the loudest voices in their heads are also the easiest to listen to. Youth athletes aren’t hard to figure out, 90% of the time you present an option of least resistance and they will take it. It’s not their fault, they’re simply being kids and learning to make correct decisions. Here at the Boost Performance Center in Corona CA, we know that it’s our responsibility as adults to help them navigate these tough situations. Kids who aren’t ready for the message will learn from the school of hard knocks, but you just hope the results aren’t dire.
Just to be clear, having a good attitude doesn’t mean you need to be a brown nose, the type of person who sucks up to coaches in order to gain favor. That type of behavior always catches up to you. It means that your actions are consistent with meeting the expectations set forth by your coach. These rules should also apply to your parents and teachers. When you become a person of good attitude, you’ll notice how it affects not only your athletic endeavors, but other aspects of your life as well. Good things happen to people with good attitudes, Facts! -Boostman
Owner, Boost Training Systems
Level 1 & 2 Coach Bommarito Performance