An educator made a comment recently as we discussed the transition to e-learning and the impact on older students. It’s one I hadn’t considered before. She said past a certain point in a child’s education teachers do not educate, students choose to learn. Her point was that a teacher can stand and give a lecture, require as many assignments as necessary for a concept to become second nature, and even if a student completes the assignments correctly that doesn’t ensure they’re learning.
We Absorb What We Want to Retain
Think about how many songs you know the lyrics to and how quickly you can recall the melody to sing along when you hear the song on the radio. Do you pause to consider the story of the lyrics? Are the words sinking in as you’re singing them? Or are you enjoying the melody? Depending on the genre of music you prefer this may not be a big deal. However, I’ll pause with me to imagine a room full of elementary age summer camp children singing the latest Justin Bieber hit Yummy. (Or can we say Yucky?)
This same principle applies to athletics. It’s always an athlete’s choice to listen. Coaches can have players watch film, repeat plays until they become second nature, run them through drills, and try to show them the bigger picture of the game plan. But if an athlete only focuses on how the play will impact them at that moment the team will find themselves in a disappointing or shall we say yucky situation.
Athletes Who Choose to Engage
Athletes who choose to engage in the process of learning the why and how will find themselves at a much greater advantage than those who simply memorize the plays, call signs, or running routes.
Athletes who choose to stay in the weight room to encourage their teammates after their lifting session rather than hanging off or stepping out to of the room keeping their attention focused on themselves will build team connections. Relationships are built over time. Leaders establish themselves as they build teammates up rather than tearing them down.
Athletes who choose to engage in the classroom let themselves up for success. Students with higher GPAs will find college much more affordable. This extends the opportunity to continue their sport after high school.
Athletes who choose to engage will find themselves enjoying the journey. Sure, the daily grind of practice is rarely defined as fun every day. However, the people who are more than teammates, those who become brothers, they make the experience memorable.
Athletes Who Choose to Be Coachable
Athletes have the opportunity to engage with their coaches and continue to learn about their sports rather than deciding they know enough to get through the game. Coachable athletes aren’t satisfied with their technique or speed. Rather, they know that with the help of an outside perspective there are adjustments that can be made to improve their abilities.
Coaches see the big picture, they have more experience to lend to the the big picture on the field or court. They understand the physical, mental, and emotional game. They also understand the strategies necessary to compete. When athletes choose to believe their coaches voices are ones to engage with beyond absorbing the information great things happen.
Just like my educator friend explained about students, at some point an athlete must choose to continue to grow. This isn’t a decision anyone else can make. However, athletes who choose to engage will thrive.