I will hold to my belief that the concept of the 24-Hour Athlete is a valid concept that we should not comprise on. Conceptually and in reality, we need to get our athletes to lead lives that are conducive to athletic excellence. You can’t be excellent two hours during training, or just twelve hours during the day and do things that are counterproductive to excellence the rest of the time. We must raise the bar, not lower it.
I agree that the young athlete of today has more going on in their life – so what? They need to be taught to focus and commit. They expect the same rewards, don’t they? We as coaches must set the example and get athletes to commit to an approach to excellence that involves all hours of the day. I know I am getting old and these ideas seem old fashioned, but I know they work; I have lived it as an athlete and a coach.
When I first started coaching I was training for the decathlon, coaching track at two schools, also coached basketball that year, taught a full teaching load, was married and had a bit of life. We must teach the young coaches and athletes that it takes total commitment; excellence is not a passing fancy. You must strive to win each workout before you can ever bear the fruits of victory. If we give into this generation then it will only get worse going forward. Is it work? You bet it is. Does it take energy, it sure does, but we must do it.