Can You Motivate A Lazy Child?
There are few things more painful to watch from the sidelines than laziness. Most of us would prefer losing, ugly play, or poor decision making. At ILTWYP we often get asked if there’s anything parents can do to help, especially when it’s a recurring issue. So we posed this question to our guest Contributor Coach/Trainer Mike Guevara:
“Can you do anything to help a lazy, but talented kid, learn to work harder?”
Coach Mike G:
Over the last 10 years of being in the performance field I have had the pleasure of working with thousands of kids in an effort in trying to make them the best athletes that ‘THEY’ want to be. I place an emphasis on ‘THEY’ because it is always a choice. My job is to maximize the amount of effort they put forth, however, I cannot and will not make anyone give effort. It is a prerequisite that everyone must have before walking on to the training floor. I have even kicked kids off of the floor because their effort level was poor and it was clear that the gym was the last place they wanted to be.
There is always that one super talented kid that knows he or she should be training and shows up even though the desire to work hard is not present. The ‘do what is necessary and not overdo’ mentality which works well for them because success tends to happen naturally even though maximum effort isn’t ever a priority.
But crazy talent can mask laziness only for so long. How do I motivate those kids? Can they be motivated? Can I change their mindset that one day pure talent will not be enough to continue to have an edge over your competition? The answer is…usually not. More than a few times I have worked with this kind of kid. This specific individual never had to work hard and the game was still easy. The game seemed to slow down for this kid and the others around him seemed a step slower. Things were great until high school or college when everyone around him was just as fast, quick, agile, strong, or clever. Now what? And he or she is too stubborn to admit that his work ethic could be an issue and chooses not to listen to me or anyone for that matter. And now they’ve gone from the best to average, the middle of the pack. All because they didn’t want to embrace the growth mindset and because they bought into the narrative being sold to them since they were young.
These are the four step I believe an athlete needs in order to take his/her sport to the next level. Without a focus on these four areas, an athlete will not find success for very long at a high level.
- Good recovery habits
- Listening to people who know more about things then they do
“I can take a horse to water but I can’t make him drink.” You have to WANT to drink and these particular kids would rather talk then drink. It all starts as a young child. Your parents either make you earn your milestones or they give you your milestones. But the process in which they are achieved is a critical one because time will dictate whether or not you will be grinder or not. God can bless you with all of the talent in the world but if one does not cultivate their talent then you’re just wasting somebody else’s dream.
Mike G is an NBA Performance Coach and consultant with the New Orleans Pelicans. He has trained many of the top athletes in the NFL & MLB as well as several Olympians and top tennis players in the world. Coach G also served as a Performance Director working with elite youth athletes of all ages and sports.