I coach volleyball. I have for about 18 years and over 40 seasons (boys, girls, jr. high, etc.). I am constantly learning. I asked my girls the other dady why they didn’t like a certain drill. Here are some of their responses.
“It’s an individual drill and we have to compete against each other.”
“When you screw up you suffer. In a game you have your teammates to pick you up.”
“The pressure is too much.”
“We work on this skill way too often (we are still not very “skilled” at this discipline).”
“The repercussions for losing are too hard and makes me nervous.”
“If you get on the losers court it’s hard to get back to the winners court.”
I explained to them that practice is supposed to be hard, it’s supposed to be uncomfortable, it’s there to make you grow. Games should be a relief. If you are nervous or succumb to the pressure in practice, you have very little chance in a pressure moment in a match.
It really caused me to think about both life and “this” generation. In reverse order…
This era of kids that I am experiencing are, not…tough. Even the hard kids from extremely unfortunate or tragic backgrounds are just wounded, not tough. More often than not they crumble inward. More and more kids look for outs rather than showing grit and digging in.
Given that I explained to them, just a bit…it’s not the season yet after all, my other point.
As I have a lot of experience in coaching I am getting up their in my life years as well. I have noticed (no real big shocker here) that life builds upon itself. What you thought was hard as a child, isn’t hard in your teens. That which challenges you as a teen makes you tougher for your post high school years. At some point you will face some major pressure moments/seasons. Sadly, very often these are prepping you for the next opportunity to overcome down the road.
I shared with Rachel that I am struggling with this post as it seems very dark and morose. I told her that it seems like all I’m saying is, what you experience now you will look at later in life and most likely think, “Man, I thought THAT was hard? This is really tough.” The challenges escalate until you ultimately face your own mortality. Granted, in between those challenges (and in the midst), life exists in rich and full ways.
So, what is life then? Well, I’ve posted a lot about it here but for now, for my players (both guys and girls mind you, today was just an example) and this generation for sure, get tougher. This is not to say that we don’t need comfort, mourning, support, and care, those are essential components of getting tougher. However, to sit idly by and expect life to just bend over for us sets us (and in this case, them) up for a long and battered life (which is coming anyhow). So get good at meeting each others needs, don’t be alone, and get after it. It gets harder.