The Coaches Favorites
Contrary to politically correct speech, most coaches do have favorites. But they probably aren't the ones you're thinking of, at least at the high school and lower levels. The athletes most coaches admire are not the most charming or friendly, nor are they the ones who look a specific way in height or weight. Believe it or not, they're not even the most talented athletes on the team (although it sometimes correlates). Coaches cannot (legally) recruit the best kids from the nation to compete for their school, so most don't have time to favor only the talented. But it's also why those who coach at the secondary level do. They desire to make a difference in kids' lives and show them how to reach beyond their discomforts and obtain greatness.
So who are the coach's favorites? They're the athletes who arrive every day expecting to be better than yesterday. Athletes who trust in the coach's process. Athletes who come to every practice and competition with a "get to" attitude instead of a "have to" mentality. Athletes push beyond their comforts and aren't afraid to give more effort. Athletes who aren't afraid to compete. Athletes who listen and ask questions. Athletes who desire to be great.
I'm sure if you're a coach or anyone in a managerial position, you could add to this list. But you get the idea. Some of my best teams had athletes who characterized these traits. They weren't the last ones to show up and the first ones to leave. Those teams often looked like the most talented but weren't. They were just disciplined. The more those athletes exhibited a desire to be great, the more I felt my investment of time in them was worth spending on them. I wasn't just coaching skills and schemes but building hope and greatness in someone else. However, I've also coached teams that were the opposite and more talented but never reached their full potential. Everything was a chore to them, and they didn't value their opportunities to embrace greatness.
Regardless, the goal is not to become a coach's (or boss's) favorite. The goal is to give effort and intention in everything you do daily. Intentionality provides purpose. It also sets opportunities to become the best version of yourself and embrace greatness. These are everyone's favorites to be around—not just coaches. The desire for progression (not perfection) is infectious and can transform your life and your entire community.
The Monday Morning Coach is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.