This past Saturday, my son and I took in a local high school basketball game. The visiting team’s coach said something during the game that caught our attention.
“Hey if you’re not going to hustle, we can’t have you on the court,” screamed the coach at a player during the first half.
Whether basketball or football, the message is universal.
I turned to my son and he looked at me with a smile because he understood exactly what the coach was talking about. A good coach will always stress a strong work ethic.
However, all the coaching in the world cannot force a player to want to succeed, which means hustling at all times, whether during the games or practices. When it comes to playing time, I’ve always felt that everyone on the team should get at least some action in a game. But a coach also has the responsibility to use work ethic, effort, and hustle as a barometer for how much playing time someone gets.
The one thing that seems to drive youth coaches crazy, other than maybe losing, is when a kid doesn’t hustle. A coach will always appreciate a kid who works hard and busts his tail on the field, even if he isn’t the most athletically talented. That is the type of child that earns extra playing time, as opposed to the kid that has a lot of talent, but doesn’t work hard and lacks hustle.
As a parent, it’s important to pay attention to see if your child is doing well in the hustle department. With my sons, I have no problem with any of their coaches saying something, if they’re not working hard. If you see a lack of hustle from your child, don’t bring it up during the game or practice. It is always best to wait because a game or practice is the coach’s time to say something.
Many times, particularly if you’re watching an NFL game, you can tell if a player is hustling or not. When it comes to watching a youth football game, it can be even more apparent. Accordingly, it’s important to convey a message to your child that it’s important to play hard at all times.
Ultimately, football is supposed to be fun for kids.
You can tell they’re having fun if they’re hustling.