Nothing is more frustrating for me as a coach than to see athletes just doing it, putting in the time just going the through the motions thinking that will make them better. If just putting in the time was the answer then everyone would be great, there is so much more requited. To borrow the concept from De La Sale High football start with “Perfect Effort” anyone can do that, it takes no talent or special gift. For awhile a young athlete can fool themselves because in the teenage years virtually anything they do (to a point) will make them better, especially if they are talented. It does not take much to get better at that level if you have special gifts. But sooner or later, most often sooner they will have to pay the piper and the lack of intensity and quality will haunt them either in the form of an injury or performance plateau or decrement.
Some of this behavior and attitude is reinforced by the so-called 10,000-hour rule, not a rule at all by the way. But it has been misinterpreted and misused to encourage just doing more and doing it earlier to accrue the magic time figure. What is forgotten is deliberate practice, which by Ericsson’s guidelines is demanding and uncomfortable. Also lets not forget deliberate play at the younger ages, that counts as development, it is fundamental and driven by the young athlete. Sandlot baseball, pick-up basketball and soccer make a big difference in learning through discovery and getting athletically fit. Ultimately it is not the time you put into accumulating hours, it is what you put into the time. Never lose sight of that.