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Coach's Corner

Commitment & Dedication

by Scott Rosberg

For the last four years, I have had a podcast called Great Quotes for Coaches. In it I talk about quotes that have inspired, educated, and helped me and my teams over the years with a variety of powerful lessons. With the basketball off-season now upon my team, I have been talking a lot about commitment. Commitment to improvement to one's skills during the off-season is critical to any future success s/he seeks.

The quote I discussed on last Monday's episode was, "Commitment weeds out the uncommitted." I have loved this quote ever since I first heard it 20 years ago. I heard it in a presentation by Bruce Brown, the director of Proactive Coaching, the group for whom I speak at schools and businesses about character-based athletics, coaching for significance, team-building, and leadership.

While I talked about a few layers to the quote on the podcast, the quote is basically saying that the people in your organization who are highly committed will make the people who aren't committed stand out in a big way. They will weed themselves out of being productive members of the team.

I have seen this quote and the concept of commitment reveal itself in many ways through the years. One way was through my job at the Firehall & Railyard fitness centers, where I have worked for the last 10 years. A few years ago, after losing a couple of employees in a short amount of time, my boss was talking about how hard it was to find good, reliable employees to show up, do the job, and then to stick around.

He talked about how unreliable people were. He mentioned jobs he held in automobile sales and how unreliable workers were there, too. He also talked about how even though they made well over six-figures, some of the top-selling car salesmen he worked with were some of the most unreliable employees he ever dealt with.

He isn't the only employer from whom I've heard this, and it does not seem to be getting better. How is it that the simplest elements like just showing up for work seem like a lost art?

Other than days when I alerted my bosses well ahead of time that I needed to be gone due to some business, school, or family responsibility, I have never missed a day, and I am rarely late for work. I do not say this to show that I am somehow special or should be commended in any way. I say it to juxtapose it with the reality of how unreliable so many workers are nowadays.

By me just showing up each day when I have said I would, I am somehow in a class of employees that puts me in the category of outstanding employee. It should not be that way!

How low is the bar for good work service? When did just showing up become something of an exemplary and superior nature? Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do? What about the work that I actually do? Does that have to be good, or can I just go through the motions and still be thought of as a good employee?

Unfortunately, too many people in this day and age live and work by these types of standards (or lack of standards). We have sunk to new lows in terms of commitment to a task or a job. Because of this, mediocre has become something to be happy with or even proud of.

Young People are Following Our Example

One of the biggest problems with this mindset is that we have then created that same mindset for our young people. There are all kinds of things tugging at their attention spans. From Snapchat and Instagram to texting and video games, kids spend much of their time with their heads down looking at a screen that provides them instant gratification in one form or another.

Even their schoolwork has become so automated that they struggle with having to go a little bit out of their way to learn or to look something up. I don’t know if my son ever set foot in the Livingston library during his school years. I don’t know if he knows how to physically go to a dictionary and look up a word. All he has to do is go to his phone to find things out that when I was his age, we had to go to a book to find out.

Don’t get me wrong. That is a great feature of technology! Our kids are able to access information immediately that we NEVER would have had access to. However, as is often the case, there is an underside to the benefit.

The underside is that many of them have come to believe that everything in life should work this way. Interpersonal communications don’t have to be face-to-face because they can just type on their phones or send a picture or video. Words, sentences, paragraphs, and essays don’t have to be written completely because we have the abbreviations of text, emojis, and 140 or 280 characters teaching us that we don’t need all those letters, words, and sentences to formulate and deliver our thoughts. The list of areas where our kids have fallen prey to the beast that is instant gratification goes on and on.

However, the area I want to focus on is our athletic world. There are many benefits to being able to use technology in our athletic world. Coaches can instantly upload stats from games to websites that publish them for people to see. Companies like Hudl, TeamSnap, FastModel, and others have created online locations for coaches, athletes, and parents to watch videos of their teams, their opponents, or other teams, set up practice schedules, game schedules, rosters and more and make them all available to parents and kids, and create massive databases of plays, practice plans, and team-building ideas for people to access 24/7. Personally, I use my phone regularly to video kids shooting the basketball and immediately give them visual feedback on what they are doing and how they can tweak it to improve.

All of these can be of great help to anyone who uses them, so I do not mean to disparage technology. However, our kids have gotten so used to instantly being able to have things, that they sometimes struggle going back in time by having to actually get up, move, pay attention, work hard for extended periods, and stay focused on a task that takes more time than just watching a snap.

This has affected many kids' levels of commitment to improve and their work ethic to follow through on their commitment. “You mean I need to come to that thing for two hours and work, and I’m not going to get to play (get paid, have my phone, etc.)? Why would I do that?”

I’m sure to some I sound like the old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn, I'm not. I am just trying to point out that in this world where just showing up to your place of employment is considered going above and beyond the call of duty, we are setting a terrible example for our kids, and they are learning from our bad example.

We need to help kids realize that there is so much to be gained from putting the TIME and EFFORT into doing a job the right way and doing it to the best of their abilities, no matter how long it takes, how hard it is, or how little recognition and praise they may receive when they finish.

Athletics is one of the great places to teach this to young people. I am not saying that we shouldn’t make sure that there is fun in their sports or that they shouldn’t be praised for a job well-done. Those things are extremely important for us to instill in our youth sports.

I am merely saying that we need to help them come to realize that there is honor in being able to be counted on to show up, do things the right way, and give an honest effort for the reward of knowing you did your best at what you were supposed to do. The true joy in athletics (and in many facets of life) is giving everything you’ve got to an endeavor, seeing it through to the end, and embracing those with whom you have endeavored to achieve your goal, whether you won or lost and whether you were singled out for your performance or not.

Let’s work to raise the bar for our kids, so they understand that it is a lot more fun and a lot more rewarding to make a difficult climb over a bar that looks far out of reach than it is to step over a bar that toddlers could get over on their own.

Let’s help kids find out that commitment to giving great effort, staying focused on a difficult task, and working together with others to achieve a shared vision are all rewards unto themselves.

Let’s help kids see the value and the joy of commitment to a cause and perseverance and hard work in seeing that cause through to its end.

To check out more materials from Scott, go to his

website You can email Scott at


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