This much I know: everyone wants everything right this second.
Like I-need-my-Uber-to-not-take-5-minutes. It needs to be here right this second.
Like I-need-this-Starbucks-line-to-hurry-the-heck-up. I need my caramel machiatto right this second.
Like I-need-college coaches-to-reply-to-my-emails. I need to post my D1 scholarship to Instagram right this second.
Like I-need-my-strength-coach-to-get-me-faster. I need to run a sub 5 second 40 yard dash right this second.
Like I-need-my-boyfriend-to-not-be-in-the-moment-with-his-friends. I need him to text me right this second.
Like I-need-to-tell-my-friends-to-Like-My-Recent-photo. I need one thousands likes right this second.
Do any of these resonate with you?
If so, it’s time to examine what the heck you’re doing. When looking at your right this second behaviors, you can unpack the distracted, chaotic culture you live in, and realize how much you seek instant gratification and results overnight.
It’s terrifying, to say the least.
I’ll be honest: I’m jaded from the right this second age. As much of a social media, digital and technology aficionado as I am, what I can’t stand about the current world is the need for everything to happen right this second.
Don’t get it twisted, though. There are some things in life that do need to happen right this second:
– A doctor treating a patient in the ER
– A fireman hosing down a burning building
– A baby being delivered
– A queen being named in Westeros
– An In-N-Out burger lunch order being delivered
These all need to happen. Like right this second.
Besides these, everything else can be put on hold. Is it too much to ask we all need to be a tiny bit more patient, and stop expecting everything right this second?
Sadly, as a soccer and strength and conditioning coach for 7 years, I see this all the time with skill and physical development.
Everyone gets lost in the end goal – whether this is a starting position, a D1 scholarship, or a professional contract for an 8-year-old – they forget there’s a long, rich process to all of this that requires 1) hard work 2) habits over time and 3) patience.
Patience, especially, is rare nowadays, and people want to skip the beauty of the process. And athletic development is a process that should not be rushed for the safety of your kids, and for their admiration for their sport.
It’s a process that must be executed with meticulous and gradual progression.
It’s a process that must be enjoyed even when setbacks occur.
It’s a process that must be accepted for taking its darn time.
It’s a process that must remind them of life’s wild, unfolding adventure.
Admittedly, it pains me when people lack good old-fashioned patience. Why? Because life doesn’t work on a rapid time schedule.
Too, when it comes to the patience of youth athletic development, I tell people this: “nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
They drop their jaws.
I do a mic drop hand gesture.
They nod in agreement.
In fact, I like to use nature as a metaphor for youth development. After all, nature is our best teacher.
Think of it like this: a butterfly doesn’t grow its wings right this second. It takes its time, spins a cocoon, chills upside down, then bursts out and flies off into the world.
To get more natural on you, do you expect a flower to bloom overnight? Expecting this from the flower right this second is like screaming to it, “grow already!” when it’s still waiting for the sun and warmth to come.
To get technical on you, it’s like telling your axons and dendrites in your nervous system to “fire already!” when they have not yet been signaled by an external stimulus.
To get financial on you, it’s like demanding your retirement account to fill up to one million dollars with the snap of a finger, and without putting away small savings over the years.
To get pop cultural on you, it’s like telling Frodo to “hurry the hell up” and destroy the Ring of Power, and skip all the cool elves, goblins, and orcs in between.
And to get social on you, it’s like you telling me to be your best friend when you haven’t even gotten to know me beyond Twitter conversations.
And to get creative on you, it’s like me expecting to make money from writing all but 1 blog post.
In fact, if I expected to publish over 500 blogs overnight, I would’ve stopped then and there. What has kept me going in this craft (and what should keep you going in sports, life, and career, too) is I immersed myself in the process.
Though panic attacks arose, self doubt crept in, and creative lulls struck, I persisted because I accepted these challenges as part of the process.
If it weren’t for these, I would not be the adept writer I am today.
Challenges test us. And they have their way of exposing us to our commitment to the process. They have their way of telling us how much we love something or not.
When things become any ounce of icky, most people crack under pressure. Or when adversity squeaks in, most people freak the hell out, or worse yet, give up altogether.
I can provide several examples of challenges that are inevitable during athletic development: not earning a starting position. Not playing enough minutes. Not making the varsity high school team. Not being fast enough on a mile time. Not beating a deadlift max. Not getting that extra pull-up. Not getting recruited by a D1 school.
Maybe I’m sounding like an old soul who reads spiritual books with her cat while sipping steamed almond milk under a vegan blanket, but to ignore the process – the good, bad, beautiful, ugly – is to ignore life.
Trees will die in the winter.
Thunderstorms will shadow a sunny day.
Leaves will change color.
Stars will be covered by clouds.
Your child won’t start that one game.
But nature’s process, just like athletic development, is fleeting. It’s rich and full of texture, and of course, never smooth sailing.
So before you leave, ask yourself this: if I don’t enjoy the patience of the process, then do I even love what I’m doing?