motivating others

Leadership in Athletics: The Urgency of Hard Work

Key takeaway: Leaders need to remind their teams that hard work matters.

How many different ways can you tell an athlete that hard work matters?

How many different ways do you tell your team that hard work matters?

Most coaches and leaders have asked themselves those questions before. They are especially relevant at this time of the year for football coaches as they struggle to keep their athletes putting out maximum effort. They have been in camp several weeks now. The newness of the season has worn off. The bumps and bruises are starting to pile up. The athletes are getting bored with practicing against the same people.

This is a situation where leadership can make or break a team.

I was given the opportunity to visit two major division one NCAA football programs. Both programs were struggling to keep their athletes focused in the meeting rooms and disciplined in putting forth a strong effort every practice. The two teams were in much different situations and had much different expectations for their seasons.

In both cases the coaching staffs were doing a great job of motivating their teams. The staffs were continuously reminding their athletes that the work they put in today would be reflected on the scoreboard in their first game (and beyond). The coaches were constantly reminding the athletes that time was running out – building a sense of urgency among the team. They also reminded their athletes that other teams were putting in the work too. All of these messages were different but they had the same point: hard work matters.

Coaches and team leaders can’t take this for granted. Athletes can easily lose sight of how important every practice is when they are practicing twice a day. That is why coaches need to be constantly reminding their athletes with consistent and creative messaging. This is another example of the importance of leadership in athletics.

This lesson transcends sports. Leaders should consistently remind their team members that their hard work and effort is important to the success of the team. Take the time this week to say thank you and remind your team that hard work matters.

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