Guest Post: High School Athletes Today vs. 10 Years Ago

This week's post was written by a teacher, coach, and friend of mine who has a great amount of perspective when it comes to this topic. Brian Wurster is a current teacher at River Ridge High School in Northwest Illinois, where I grew up. There isn't anyone else who I'd rather have give a quick opinion and start a conversation. I hope this leads to positive suggestions to help current athletes find their path to success in the world or smart phones/watches and social media. - CJ

How things have changed in 10 years time...

I will start by saying that I see so many more distractions nowadays than even 10 years ago. Social media has taken over most of the lives of the students and athletes I see on a daily basis. Just an example during our regular school day, instead of going into the gym to play during the lunch hour, many choose to just look at their phone or play video games after they finish eating.

It is more of a social world than it was a few years ago. Not that athletes have to spend every waking moment on sports, but I feel there is much less of a priority and time commitment as in years past. Athletes are viewing their sport as more of a secondary activity, whereas it was a huge priority for the athletes when I first started coaching. Athletes don't realize that to be great and succeed, even in our small area of the country, you need to put yourself on the line and commit a great deal of time to perfecting your skill level.

I hate to always bring this up, but I feel the competition between athletes for spots on a team has decreased due to the fact that younger athletes are often rewarded equally no matter how they finish in an event. I am sure everyone loves getting a trophy, but it creates a sense of accomplishment regardless if you worked hard, or put in very little time to be rewarded equally. In my mind, it takes away from an athlete's work ethic at a lower level because I "can get by" without putting in the extra work. Again these are just random thoughts from a guy who has coached all levels of athletes for the past 16 years, from travel baseball to high school girls basketball. - Brian Wurster

I would love to hear opinions from more coaches/teachers with examples of where they have struggled and/or succeeded to get athletes on the same page. What is pushing today's athletes to compete at a high level? What are the characteristics of the leaders on today's high school teams? How can we as coaches and teachers better motivate? Looking forward to hearing more...have a fantastic week/end. Cheers!

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