In recent years we've noticed that young athletes are lacking the patience that it takes to achieve their goals. It's not that they're lazy, it's actually the exact opposite. They are so eager and determined, that frustration settles in quite easily after a few unsuccessful attempts. We can't help but think that it could be due to how this generation of athletes are affected by technology.
"Digital technology has led to social media, which has led to a generation of people with such extraordinarily low EQs that they cannot wait for anything."
We live in a technologically based world where we can Google the answer to just about any question we have. Between that, social media, and texting, everything is practically instant now. With kids growing up in this type of environment, it can be difficult for them to understand patience and the value behind working for something intangible. We see the effects of this instant gratification first hand when teaching the beginning stages of a new skill and a gymnast gets almost immediately upset when they don't get it right away.
As coaches and parents, we strive to instill confidence and we also want to see our young ones succeed. From our own experiences we know that in order to succeed we will most likely fail several times in the process, and though it can be difficult to see our children feel defeated, we cannot give them things that they need to work for. But how do we communicate this to children, when the idea of instant success is so deeply ingrained?
For most gymnasts, some of their proudest moments came from accomplishing a new skill. From the very beginning of learning the fundamentals and the never ending amount of drills, to the numerous failed attempts, you realized the value in all the hard work and perseverance in that moment of glory. And it was so incredibly worth it! Would money have as much value to us if we didn't work for it? Would getting a promotion be indicative of our work ethic, if it wasn't earned? The most valuable things in life are often the hardest to obtain, and we as leaders need to foster that mentality in our young ones.
Although we can't do much to change the affects technology has had on our young gymnasts, we can certainly help them understand why it takes time and diligence to achieve the things we desire. With that, they will develop a sense of persistence and grace that will carry them through their journey to success, in sports and in life.
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” -Earl Nightingale