This morning as I was getting situated to start my work day, I came across a video by a professional beach volleyball player called Riley McKibbin entitled “Rise of a Benchwarmer”.
The video starts out describing a scenario that played out while he and his brother, also a professional beach volleyball player, were coaching a young indoor volleyball team at the Junior Olympics Tournament in Florida.
A young player was complaining about playing, or lack thereof and remarked:
You don’t know what it’s like! You’ve always been good!”
Riley goes on to tell the story of his rise from being a perennial benchwarmer, even behind his younger brother, to becoming a top recruit to USC, to being a professional indoor player in the Italian Super league.
Plot twist: It had nothing to do with natural talent!
It was sheer hard work and determination. Nothing else! It took several years and a lot of effort for him to get where he is today, but I think we can all agree, his hard work paid off.
As a coach, one of the things I tried to impress on all my players was the idea that they ultimately determined how far good got at the game and how quickly they progressed.
Something I perhaps could have been more specific about, however, is most of that progress comes away from the court and away from your coaches.
You see, the story Riley tells is one of self-motivation and perseverance. He made the decision to put in the work. He made the decision to do what he thought he needed to do to become better. It was all him!
Riley’s story is not too unlike my own athletic journey actually.
I grew up with some of the areas top athletes as some of my best friends. Several of them represented our area and even our nation in at least one sport.
Over the years, I’ve had a good number of players tell me they wanted to get really good. I’ve had number of players tell me they wanted to work hard and become a real asset to their team. I can count on one hand the number of players that actually put in that work.
I’ve had so many players ask me what they needed to do to increase their vertical. I gave every single one of them the initial steps to improving which included stuff like box jumps, sprint starts and lifting. Again, I can count on one hand the number of players that actually followed through.
Coaches don’t make good players better. Good players make themselves better and coaches help give them the structure needed to succeed.
Coaches discover and develop talent. We can’t create good players if those players refuse to put in the hard work.
Unsurprisingly, this concept extends to all facets of life. Most of the failures in our lives come as a result of a lack of effort in that area of our life.
School. Work. Family. It all requires constant effort and a lot of hard work on your part to succeed. It’s up to you to decide whether you’re willing to put in the work to get what you, or not.
In the end, it’s all up to you!