A Message About the NFL Draft
During the process of deciding what to put on my new website, it was suggested by my fantastic web designer, KP Kreative (seriously, they’re awesome and you should check them out if you have any digital projects) that I begin a blog. I’m going to be honest, I don’t even like the word blog… it sounds gross to me. However, I believe the timing of everything to get me to the point where I agree to have a blog page was supposed to happen so here I am.
I’m big on audiobooks and one that I had recently completed was CEO Strength Coach by Ron McKeefery. No need to go into details, but low and behold, he talks about the importance of writing, among several other topics and tips that I will use throughout my career and afterwards. From any book that I read, or in this case, listen to, I always try to take something from them that will help make myself, and the kids I train, better.
The first thing that crossed my mind when presented with having a blog was, “I don’t know the first thing about writing.” Then came, “What am I going to write about? How do I give credit to others that have said a message better than I ever could?”
First things first, topic. I sometimes let perfect get in the way of better. When this happens, I talk to my wife and she, without fail, will put things in perspective better than anyone I’ve ever met. She suggested that I include a blog to parents and kids about the NFL Draft and all the great stories that are shared that most people watching don’t know about.
Deep breath, here goes nothin’…
In light of the recent NFL draft along with the next audiobook on my list, Grit by Angela Duckworth, I want to talk about kids’, and sometimes our, perception of achievement.
Grade school and high school kids across the country watched the NFL Draft this past weekend and I can hear them and parents saying, “these guys are so talented” or “that guy’s a freak.” Don’t get me wrong, you can’t train someone to be 6’7 and genetics do play a factor, but I want to talk about what it took for all these players to achieve being drafted by an NFL team.
As a coach for more than a decade, kids perceive talent to be any skill done with little to no effort. For example, catching a ball, throwing a ball, or acing a math or history test. Kids will say, “yea, he’s super talented” or “she’s just naturally smart.” When they say things like this, they are giving themselves an out, or an excuse to not have to compare themselves with the supposed “talented.”
Obviously, we all know that catching a ball, throwing a ball, and learning material that will be on a test are all things that can be practiced and learned as long as the effort to do so is present. In the book, Angela puts this into a math equation:
Talent x Effort = Skill
So talent, or the natural ability to learn and apply techniques better or quicker than others is great, sure, but the effort is what makes the amount of skill increase because effort is only limited by time in the day. Applying this to our topic of the NFL Draft, 99% of those drafted had to play college football for 3-5 years, high school football for 4 years, and even before that in junior high. Many of those young men that got their names called last week started as early as 5 or 6 years old! Keeping our equation in mind, that’s a long time for a “not so talented kid” to put forth the effort to raise how skilled they become at their craft.
Duckworth then goes on to say, “that skill alone also does not equate to achievement.” Her second equation is as follows:
Skill x Effort = Achievement
Notice how effort is in both equations. Duckworth goes into much more detail on the matter, but in short, the message was talent on its own doesn’t mean that a person will achieve success long term nor will skill on its own achieve long term success. It takes consistent and focused effort. The success of being drafted by an NFL team is one of thousands of examples that success doesn’t just appear out of thin air, and hopefully, serves as a reminder of exactly that. If there’s anything to be amazed by the athletes who play at the highest level, it’s the commitment, the dedication, the effort that they put in to get to where they are now. One of our many sayings/messages we would remind our team of in the offseason was, “Success always looks easy to those who weren’t around when it was being earned.”
So let this serve as a little reminder when we see success or when the kids see success to remind them, and ourselves, that it was only achieved because of effort, although unseen.
Thank you for reading and hope you enjoyed my very first blog post! I’m looking forward to sharing more of my thoughts on any and all things sports and fitness with you!
Now all that’s left is to come up with something that sounds better than “blog”….