Effort or Results
weekend I was at the park for my daughter’s soccer game. As usual it was a
full weekend of sports which made it somewhat harder to gear up for a U6
girls match, but at least I wasn’t coaching this team so for a change I got
to just sit back, relax, and be a dad. While I love being with the kids, it
was nice to watch the game from that perspective. Since my daughter is the
youngest of three, with two older brothers, she tends to be a bit more
aggressive than many of the other girls in the division. So she went out,
pushed and shoved, got the ball, broke free and dribbled down the pitch for
a goal. She did this five times during the twenty minutes the girls played.
However, she also lazily stood around and watched as the other team scored
goals that she could have prevented and decided it was too much effort to go
after other opportunities that were available. She came off the field very
happy that she had played such a “good game”, but she admitted that she
really hadn’t come close to trying her hardest. That got me thinking about
what lesson I wanted to teach her from that experience. Which is more
important: effort or results?
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Coach’s Corner, Continued
As we were walking to the car I talked to my daughter about effort.
If you’ve been reading these newsletters then you know that I always
emphasize dealing with what you can control: effort. You can’t control the
results of any play or contest. So, from a personal perspective, it’s better
to give a maximum effort that may not yield the results that you want, but
you know that you’ve done everything possible to succeed. I told my daughter
that I’d be happier if she did her best even if that meant that the team
didn’t succeed and that she didn’t score any goals. More importantly, she
should be happier with herself because she knows that she did her best which
is all anybody could ever ask of her.
All the lessons of
youth sports that we talk about, from teamwork to personal development, are
the main reasons that most of the kids should be playing. As parents and
coaches, sports are a vehicle that we use to help teach the value of hard
work. We want the lessons of sports to become a model to help them carry out
to the more important aspects of their life: school, personal relationships,
and eventually, personal success. What could possibly be any more important
for a kid to learn that how effort can make up for a lack of ability and
allow them to still reach their goals? What if instead we find that sports
teach kids that having great ability can make up for a lack of effort?
also times when people simply get lucky and succeed in life or business;
they have the right friends, luck into a great job, or are presented with
the right deal that turns into a fantastic opportunity. Baseball players get
bloop hits that look like line drives the next day in the box score. A
football cornerback may be completely out of position, slower than the
receiver, or simply didn’t put out the effort to keep up, but still finds
that the quarterback under threw the ball and they end up with a timely
interception. All sports have an element of luck that can lead to
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Coach’s Corner, Continued
argue that luck is usually created by a combination of preparation and
Winning the game
and getting good results is certainly more important as kids progress
through the system into high school sports and beyond. Sometimes, regardless
of how it happens, it’s just important to win. The emphasis on results
certainly tends to say that results are more important than effort. It was
said that Dion Sanders didn’t like to tackle, which can be more effort and
desire than skill, but he is considered one of the all-time great coverage
cornerbacks. Winning and performance take on larger and larger degrees of
importance in both sports and business as people mature, but that still
isn’t the lesson that we need to teach to young children.
Especially when kids are younger, parents and coaches need to teach the
benefits of hard work. While results will continue to take on more
importance, the combination of hard work and determination is paramount to a
person’s ultimate success. Certainly there will be times, especially in
sports, when even hard work combined with talent, will not be enough to move
to the next level and get the desired results. Yet, even in these cases, the
lessons learned to put out maximum effort easily transfer to school, jobs
and interpersonal relationships.
kids are beginners the most important thing is that they have fun. If they
enjoy playing they will want to continue and therefore it will be easier to
teach aspects of life through sports. One of the main lessons we can teach
is that it’s better to put forth your “best effort” regardless of the
results achieved. This allows students to “master the academic material”
rather than simply getting a good grade. It allows business people and
employees to achieve far better results through a combination of knowledge,
skill, luck and hard work than could ever be possible without the effort.
Determination and effort allows relationships with spouses, kids and parents
to flourish and be long lasting because everything worthwhile takes work.
When my daughter
plays soccer this weekend you can be sure that she’ll have the message that
she needs to put out her maximum effort and that doing her best is always
more important than the results. We’ll see if she can hear the message.
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