Time to Listen Up

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Listening is hard-really hard. As a guy notorious for having the attention span of a chipmunk with ADD, this statement is more true that I would like to admit. One comfort in this fact is that I know that I am not the only person who struggles with this problem.

Lack of listening is a problem that plagues many athletes, myself included. In the heat of practice or a game, often times the last thing an athlete wants to do is listen. This can mean listening to another player, but usually it means listening to the coach.

Now, I know what you are thinking. It’s Westminster Christian Academy, and I’m supposed to say something along the lines of, “Listen to your coach because Jesus wants you to.” In response to this, I would say that there is a safe bet that Jesus does not really care that you listen to your coach. Whether or not you listen to your coach is not a religious matter; it’s a matter of basic courtesy.

The idea of listening to your coach and following directions is a concept that is important for everyone, regardless of their athleticism or participation in sports. It challenges a problem—or potential problem—that is plaguing students and adults alike.

This issue can be simply put as the lack of attention and respect for authority figures. As can be imagined, this dilemma inhabits many facets of life, but I want to respond to it specifically from a sports standpoint.

It may not seem like a big deal. I would agree with this; from the surface level, a simple thing like not listening to a coach is harmless. To people who feel this way, I challenge you to look at it through a broader lens. Coaches, like every athlete, make mistakes. Along with this, they often have their players do things that are unnecessary and wrong. The common reaction to this would be to simply not do whatever bad idea that they have. This is easy, but it brings about an air of uncoachability. Yes, even not listening to a bad idea is still being uncoachable.

While being uncoachable may not have direct consequences in high school, the damage will increase as you get older. In college, I imagine that coaches will make athletes do things that are borderline insane (think mid summer conditioning), but not listening to a college coach is a great way to be removed from a team. Even after college, not listening to an employer (a “coach”) is even more of a risk. It has often been said that, “Uncoachable kids turn into unemployable adults.” I couldn’t agree more. Employers don’t have time for people that won’t listen to them, and often times, they won’t be keen on giving a second chance.

The above description is a very extreme example, but it is an important thing to remember. It’s best to make a habit of listening now.

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