A couple of months ago I got on the phone with a friend of mine who also happened to be a trainer. I had just finished up a youth workout and we began discussing what I went over during the session.
As I started talking I was quickly cut off by my friend as he said,
“You were able to do that with your youth kids???”
I hadn’t really thought about it, but I stopped and realized that I was actually covering some really complex concepts.
As I was describing how the workout went, I began to realize something.
These younger kids are so much more capable than we typically give them credit for.
I went on to explain how poorly they looked initially, but as we went along I kept breaking down what we were trying to accomplish in little pieces. Piece by piece we kept putting things together until we were ultimately able to get these players to a spot where they could accomplish what we set out to do.
Now, they weren’t great at it, but they were at least able to get a couple reps in.
And through that struggle, they had gained confidence.
We had a discussion about it during the workout. Confidence comes from the struggle. You see yourself at the beginning and you can’t figure it out. You struggle. And struggle some more.
And then something clicks and you get that elusive 1st clean rep. And then you want more.
WHAT COMES NATURAL
It is our nature to revert to what we know and understand. At a young age we tend to focus on getting players from Point A to Point B without falling over. I understand that. But we also miss out on awesome opportunities to challenge them.
I heard a story awhile back where a former pro player was trying to explain a basic concept to a younger player when the player responded with, "Yeah, sorry. I didn't play pro basketball like you did."
Instead of getting frustrated, my first thought was, "What a great opportunity to teach."
Most pro players don't become pro players because they do spectacular things all the time. They become really good because they master basics - the things that don't take skill!
As we move forward this year, be a teacher. Be something that is willing to challenge their players to be more than they think they can be.
Be willing to let them fail. Because sometimes that's exactly what they need to get to where they want to go.