“You didn’t stand up to him, you stood up for something.”

I shared this insight with an athlete I was speaking with today. Sometimes when coaches try to get athletes to give more energy in practice, it becomes a never ending battle. Today, I was talking with a football player doing some off-season workouts. How do you get more effort out of a player? There’s punishment. But that only lasts until the player learns the new level, then it tapers off again only for your efforts to be repeated.

Here’s how my conversation went with the athlete.

I asked him, “Have you ever been bullied or stood up to a bully?” He began telling me of a time when a BIG kid was trying to pick-a-fight with another classmate at lunchtime by the basketball courts. He mentioned seeing the bullied kid with his head down trying to walk away and around the kid bullying him. The bully then slapped the kid in the back of his head and he (this athlete) stood in between the two and pushed the bullying kid away.

This athlete is by know means a big kid and he did say that the bullying kid was bigger than he was. I asked him, “Weren’t you afraid of getting into a fight with the bully?”

He coolly replied, “Yeah, but I hate bullying more.”

He hated bullying more than he feared the altercation. That was my chance to give the insight that can change the amount of effort with which he plays and works out.

“You didn’t stand up to him, you stood up for something.”

He didn’t catch what I was saying. I explained,

Just like you stood up for ‘fairness’ or whatever you want to call it, you can and should stand up for ideals in your sport. You shouldn’t face your workouts or opponents like ‘I just want to get through this’. That’s the ‘stand-up-to-him’ mindset. You should workout and play for ideals. Ideals like, the name of your school, excellence or the sport itself. When it comes to your sport, what would you give your all to protect about your sport? What do you hate seeing in your sport?

If you rather watch good games than bad, you can personally stand up for the level of talent that goes on your field by consistently giving more effort.

You should hate being mediocre more than you fear the work it takes to be great!

What do you value about your sport? Stand up for it!

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