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.”


“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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