The video posted above is one of my favourite sound bites I've heard in a very long time. The coach from Wisconsin is voicing a common gripe of many coaches, and of course many people who are looking at this younger generation and wondering how to relate and get through to them.
I am currently 28 years old, and likely one of the youngest college coach's in the country. Now when I graduated high school in 2005, the smart phones weren't quite as smart. Flip phones were still in, and Blackberry's were the magical smart phone. iPhone's hadn't arrived yet, Facebook hadn't arrived yet, and of course Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram were not around. The biggest element of internet addiction to this point was internet chat, MSN Messenger, previously ICQ (really dating myself now). The amount that technology and specifically for this conversation SOCIAL MEDIA have taken over people's lives in the last decade is truly mind-blowing. Sitting with your thoughts seems a thing of the past, and unfortunately that means true self-reflection may go into extinction as well with the younger generation. No one ever has to be bored any more. It is so easy to spend hours and hours, just distracting one-self.
Further to the point, I wonder how much social media, cell phones, etc, have impacted people's competitive nature. Specific to my demographic, student-athletes, I feel that the ability to be somewhere without being invested in anything but the screen in front of your face has a massive impact. As an athlete, I didn't take well to losing, I would replay actions over and over and over in my head about how things could have been done differently. I would typically blame myself (and still do) for whatever loss was incurred. I would sit and stew for hours. My gripe echoes Coach Bobbi Kelsey's in the video above about work ethic but I am going to hypothesize a step further that technology in its current form has made athlete's less competitive. Pre and post-game preparation and subsequent reflection have been hijacked by stupid videos, pointless following of celebrities and everyone hunting for "likes" "retweets" "shares," etc by trying to be a comedian all the time. It would be very hard to believe ten years ago these are the types of things coaches would be up against. Can an athlete just go to the gym, without having to post on some social media site that they are there and hope people see how "hard they are working?" There is a whole other conversation about player-development, hours of practice vs. too many games, helicopter athlete-parents who suddenly become experts in a given sport when their child is old enough to play.......and those all have very negative consequences as well for athletic development as well.
Coach Matt - Father, Coach, Life Long Learner, Basketball Addict