As I drive by high schools on my way to work this time of year and see football teams sweating through September workouts, a nagging question always comes to mind: Do today’s student athletes work as hard as we did a generation ago? Are they as motivated as we were to get better? Some high school coaches I know say the answer is a definitive no. They believe today’s student athletes simply have too many other distractions that draw away from the ability to focus intensely on one goal.
Others, however, see a new generation of student athletes, more sophisticated in their knowledge of sports, and smarter about when to work hard and when to take it easy. That is probably progress, a balance between athletic intelligence and hard work.
Still, I sometimes long for the days when hard work was the rule in high school sports.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.