The Engine & The Fuel — Effort & Desire
Not every athlete is exactly the same, but every athlete is on a journey. The destination won’t always be identical, but the roads you’ll travel will be very similar. Some athletes will be blessed with a fancy vehicle, while others’ will have to be maintained every day.
One thing remains the same: Without a good engine and the right fuel, you won’t make it very far!
The Effort Engine
When it comes to being an athlete, effort is a prerequisite. Effort should be an expectation set from the beginning of a training program, off season, practice, etc. It must be present during athletic activity.
No coach should have to coach their athletes on giving better effort. It is a waste of valuable time. If you can’t find a way to give great effort, it’s time to reevaluate your purpose.
Effort should act as an athlete’s engine. If the key is in the ignition — if you’re participating in practice or competition or training — the Effort Engine should be ON and running.
Desire is something that simply can’t be coached, for desire comes from within each of us. Desire must be discovered and cultivated by each individual athlete. It is manifested in many ways: goal setting and having a plan toward achievement, knowing your why, or simply displaying how badly you want a successful outcome.
In fact, desire and effort are pretty closely linked. Great effort arguably should be a product on an athlete’s desire. Desire is the fuel to the Effort Engine.
While pumping gas for your mom, wife, or girlfriend is a noble task, an athlete must fill up their own tank when fuel is low.
Coaches can help when it comes to desire. Team goals and fostering a championship mentality can help an athlete fuel up in general terms. In a way, giving them directions to the gas station.
Still, a coach or two can probably pull up a lesson from memory about a horse they led to water, but couldn’t make them drink. That’s why, desire must come from within the athlete.
An unselfish athlete will most likely have their personal goals (a sign of desire) in line with their team’s goals, which is like having a Gas Rewards Card. You fuel up and get benefits down the road! No doubt, a coach or two will love telling a story about one of these types of kids!
If you aren’t driving your own set of wheels yet, consider this a “heads up!” At some point, you will be stranded on the side of the road due to your car malfunctioning or breaking down. Almost everyone experiences this at one point or another in life, and you’ll find yourself wondering, “What happened here? What’s wrong with my car?!”
You will have similar moments when you feel stranded in your athletic career. You will wonder, “What happened here?” One of the first things to do is identify whether or not you have run out of gas. Did you forget to fill up with Desire Diesel before starting your trip? Don’t forget to fill up with what you need to have your engine running optimally. Nonetheless, you may need to call for some help.
We don’t want to coach effort. We can’t give an athlete the desire they need to power their effort. However, we have at least a basic role to play. If you have ever been stranded on the side of the road, you are so thankful you pay monthly for that AAA Membership! Roadside Assistance can save you time, money and a headache!
Figuratively, in our own careers (as former athletes and coaches), our help comes from our mentors, colleagues and friends. They are our Roadside Assistance. We should be that for our players.
When we see them broken down, we pull over to help them out. Since we can’t or won’t coach effort and desire on the field, we ought to make sure lessons on both are taught and reinforced. Give them reminders to fill up if we expect their engines to be running when we see them.