Coaches and parents love to see kids working hard, whether it is on the field or in the classroom. Unfortunately, there is more to success than just hard work.
Recently, I had a student that was ripping the cover off the ball with a great swing. I was so proud to see it because I had observed how far she had progressed over time. She returned the following week and fell back into her old inconsistent, incorrect habits. It hurt me to ask but I did, “What happened?” She replied, “I don’t know, I worked so hard this week.” I countered with, “Next time we get it figured out, don’t work so hard.” She came back with, “I didn’t know you could work too hard.”
She had me because if I said “You can,” I would destroy everything her parents and coaches have preached to her. Thank God her dad chimed in with “If it ain’t broke, there’s nothing to fix.”
I came back with, “When it all seems to click, ease up on the work load on that particular skill and devote more time on other aspects of the game, until it starts to slip away again.”
Two other things I try to explain to my students, “Work hard, but work smart,” because it is better to do something correct a few times than work incessantly, but not know it is correct. Without a coach on hand, kids do not know what they are doing is correct so they have to be smart, take their time and strive for perfection. Additionally, it is why I have kids perform drills, a good drill forces and reinforces correct habits most often as opposed to just performing the skill, which may be right or may not be.
Once again, tricky area, because I never want to criticize hard work.