As coaches, we think we have all the answers, right? That’s great, because I have no idea how to answer the question I posed in the title. There are some things that look like commitment, but they could easily be other things:
- A player that comes to practice early. Could also be avoiding doing homework.
- An athlete comes in regularly to get treatment in the training room. Everywhere I’ve been the training room is gossip and hangout central, maybe they’re just being social.
- One of your players always finishes first when you have your team run. Some folks are gifted runners and the fact they finish first is more a result of genetics than effort.
I’m sure we could all come up with other scenarios that look like commitment…and maybe they are, but I’m convinced I can never be sure. I’ve been wrong on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve had athletes I was sure were committed, only to be wrong, wrong, wrong. I’ve also had athletes who I wasn’t convinced were in it for the long haul, only to realize I’d mislabeled them.
So what does commitment look like?
- Is it being at practice every day?
- Is it doing all the lifting?
- Watching film?
- Helping with recruiting?
- Is it holding a leadership position?
- Is it doing the off-season workouts?
Honestly, I don’t know. I think everything on that list is just a requirement of being on a team…nothing above and beyond there.
Is commitment a consistency of doing the right thing all the time? After all, the bare minimum of being on a team is a huge time commitment. Or can commitment be measured by the result? Is a mightily transformed athlete the result of a commitment to get better?
I think the essence of the answer to the opening question is in the heart of the athlete. Are they working to improve at each practice or just showing up? Are they watching film with a critical eye or just enjoying watching a game?
Perhaps we need to think of commitment on a continuum…
What do you think?