Lazy Athletes or Lazy Coaches

We have all coached lazy athletes. Right? The ones that always look for shortcuts. That always try to do less than you ask. Or do it differently. Who resist change. Maybe distract others. I heard coaches complain about this all the time. And I'm certainly one of them.

"They are lazy." "They are slow." "They won't make it." "Why should I waste my time?"

I bet you are picturing one now.

Once I was in a gym and I was watching a group of athletes doing doing a physical circuit. And they were doing it horribly. Every single different exercise they did was done poorly, with poor form. Lunges without keeping correct alignment, drop jumps without properly loading glutes. Everything was done poorly. I happened to be standing next to their coach at the time (there was a S&C coach actually supervising). I asked what they thought about it. They said it was ok. I said that I kept seeing these flaws. They replied, 'Oh, that is how they always do it.' 'Well, aren't you the coach?' is what I didn't say in reply.

Now, the thing about exercises like these is that they are specifically designed to develop physical literacy. That is, to teach all the muscles around the joints to operate in an efficient way, in order to keep the joint safe from long term injury. So, if you don't do them properly, then you are really just making the athletes tired for no reason. Actually, you are not just making them tired, but actually reinforcing the wrong neural pathways for muscle activation (what used to be called 'muscle memory'). The same thing goes if you do wall-sits but don't ensure they are at 90 degrees. The benefit comes from the angles and alignments.

I hear what you are saying. 'But in these situations, they are just children, who are possibly fatigued, and taking shortcuts on exercises to make it easier for themselves, or they are just too fatigued to concentrate.' So if they are doing it badly, is it because they are lazy? Or the coach is lazy?

It is exhausting to stay focussed on supporting and challenging athletes to develop good habits and improve. It is particularly hard to do it in a positive way all the time. But, to be blunt, that is the job. It is a fundamental part of the job. It is the way you achieve everything else. If you are serious about helping the children (or adults) learn what they need for the future, you don't get to pick and choose which bits are more fun for you.

So, is it about lazy athletes? Or lazy coaches?

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