Have you ever noticed that kid who just seemed to have all the natural ability but just never gave 100%? He was that kid with all the “raw” talent that all the other parents coveted, wishing their kid had it, because it just seemed to be wasted on him? That kid who could do it all, but didn’t?
We have all seen that kid. Many of you have coached that kid. I know that I have, not only at the youth level, but even as far as the college level. I will never forget that college basketball player who had huge amounts of potential but was so afraid to give a full effort, and how sad it was for me to watch him fall so short of who he was designed to be.
So, why does this happen? Why is it that some kids just will not give 100%?
Let me give you my top 10 reasons (in random order):
- The fear of failure is so strong that it holds them back. This is the child who thinks that if he doesn’t give everything he has or doesn’t really try his best, then he really hasn’t failed. This “self-protection” mode is a huge de-motivator. They don’t want to disappoint anyone, or be an embarrassment, so they just don’t give their all.
- There has been some past wounding from a bad experience that they just can’t shake off. They don’t want to work hard, or try their best because of some painful experience that thwarts their ability to put the past behind and get excited about what is up and coming.
- They don’t have the fundamental skill sets developed yet, so embarrassment, and the fear of making mistakes trumps going all out. Lack of confidence really has a strong grip on the way that kids give themselves permission to experiment, so they would rather just not try.
- They haven’t had as much playing experience with that sport, so they don’t know the basic game strategies of where to be and when, or how to get there. They would rather just go half speed than just dive in there and make a big obvious, humiliating mistake in front of everyone.
- Burn out! They just can’t do it anymore. They don’t have it in them to work hard anymore. It wasn’t their idea anyway; it was forced on them and forced on them a lot!
- Not enough support! Ok, in some cases, it is the opposite of parental pressure: parental indifference. Sometimes if there is no affirmation, encouragement, or involvement, the kids can seem to not have any interest, resulting in a lack luster effort, commitment and desire.
- Comparison; they look around and compare their ability with that of their teammates or opponents. This is so intimidating that the lack of confidence takes away their hope and desire to try. Instead of GIVING their best, they feel that they have to BE the best, so they often hold back, feeling defeated before they start because they just won’t measure up.
- They have had such a lopsided win loss record that the “why should I try, ‘cause I’m going to lose anyway” mentality kicks in.
- They really don’t like it that much. This could mean that it takes them away from things that they really want to spend time doing. This could mean that their friends aren’t on the team with them. This could mean that mom and dad are forcing them to play.
- IT”S NOT FUN!
I think that “fun” is the bottom line and the key. If kids didn’t have the fear of failure, and don’t have to go into their “self protection “mode then they can have the yearning and craving to dive in and give all that they have.
“Hey, look at that kid. He is so fun to watch he always tries his hardest, and gives 110%”!
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