Reflecting: Effort and the competition setting

Reflecting on my athlete-self, tough, determined and hard working, and the developmental journey towards my coach self, a vision yet to be realised, a relationship between the two had not figured centrally within my introspection, that is until recently. As an athlete I was mediocre at best, yet I contributed a degree of effort second to none, effort born from observing high levels of labour at the cost of my parents time. Indeed, I was selected to teams based on my employment of effort, an exertion I applied and was rarely vested. I consider this characteristic now central to my coaching philosophy as I wish to play witness to effort and hard work within my charges, and within the reflections that follow. I seek assiduousness in self and others throughout the planning, practice and execution of all that is undertaken, and in the pursuit of individual and collective goals. To this end I focus my coaching on intensity, concentration and mindfulness of the effort applied to the task at hand. Certainly within my self-reflections this is situated as central to my coaching practice and within the training environment:

“I was negative on the bench, lots of screaming and shouting in an attempt to raise the level of intensity.”

And again:

“I had spent a great deal of time planning and was determined that I was going to get a greater showing of energy and intensity out of the players.”

Further:

“I got after them early in an attempt to get them to play hard, to raise the effort level at both ends of the floor.”

In fact, I often found myself questioning the players’ level of effort and application, suggesting that a negative correlation existed between low levels of intense output and poor performance. Finally, I ask:

“Why won’t they fight? Why won’t they try harder? Our levels of effort and intensity remain poor for long periods within the game and it is killing us.”

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