Wildcats News · It Takes What It Takes – Will You Give a Champion’s Effort Today?


y 11, 2018

It Takes What It Takes

Nick Saban, the head football coach at the University of Alabama, is one of the best in the business. His team won this year’s national championship, his sixth overall. That’s more national titles than all other active college football coaches combined. One of the best in the business, for sure.
Coach Saban spoke recently on the challenge that comes with helping young people understand what it takes to be successful. Of course, he was talking specifically about success for his players on the football field, but his words ring true for anyone of any age pursuing success in any area. I hope they serve as a challenge for you today, as you strive to help your young athlete understand what it takes to be successful on the playing field, and as you strive for success in your own life as a sports parent and beyond.
“They all think they have this illusion of choice,” Saban said about young athletes. “Like ‘I can do whatever I want to do’. And you kind of have a younger generation now that doesn’t always get told no, they don’t always get told this is exactly how you need to do it. So they have this illusion that they have all these choices.”
“But the fact of the matter is, if you want to be good, you really don’t have a lot of choices, because it takes what it takes. You have to do what you have to do to be successful. So you have to make choices and decisions to have the discipline and focus to the process of what you need to do to accomplish your goals. All these guys that think they have a lot of choices are really sadly mistaken.”
“If you want to be good, you really don’t have
a lot of choices, because it takes what it takes.”
So what does it take to be successful? To be your best? To become a champion? Well, simply put, it takes what it takes. Those words are true, as Nick Saban spoke them, about any athlete pursuing greatness in any sport. But those words are true for you and me today, too. If we’re hoping to become the best we can be, then it takes what it takes. There’s a narrow path that leads to greatness. We really don’t have a lot of choices.
Here are a few examples, for instance, of the choices every athlete (including your child) will face as he competes in the world of sports…
*As an athlete today, will he be willing to do the work that’s uncomfortable or inconvenient? Or will he only do the work that’s quick and easy?
*As an athlete today, will he take responsibility for what happens in his life, especially when things go wrong? Or will he play the role of the victim – blaming, making excuses, and avoiding responsibility?
*As an athlete today, will he be surprised, offended, or unprepared for adversity when it comes his way? Or will he rise up to meet his challenges head on, fight through them with perseverance, and succeed in spite of his struggle?
*As an athlete today, is he willing to change the way he thinks or acts in order to succeed? Or will he refuse to change, and instead hang on to the negative habits or backward thinking that keep holding him back?
*As an athlete today, is he willing to accept that some circumstances are worthy of keeping him from doing his very best? Or will he give a champion’s effort today, regardless of the circumstances?
For the champion athlete, the path is narrow and the choices are simple.
Today, are you willing to do the work that’s uncomfortable or inconvenient? Yes.
Today, will you take responsibility for what happens in your life? Yes.
Today, will you rise up to meet your challenges head on? Yes.
Today, are you willing to change the way you think or act in order to succeed? Yes.
Today, will you give a champion’s effort, regardless of the circumstances? Yes.
If your child wants to be great, then he doesn’t have a lot of choices. There are no caveats. He can’t say, “yes, but…” or “yes, as long as…” or “yes, except for when…” If he does become a champion, then it’s because he’s come to accept the truth Coach Saban explained: it does, in fact, take what it takes.
So how exactly will your kid come to that understanding? From you, of course. As is always the case, what you choose to emphasize is what your child will learn to value. Nick Saban said it and it’s true: kids today don’t get told no. They don’t get told often enough, “this is exactly how you have to do it.” You’ve got to be willing, when you see your child doing it wrong, to step forward and say no. No, that’s not how it’s done. If you want to be great, this is exactly how you have to do it.
That message will be important coming from you, and the words you speak in those moments will help. But modeling that truth in your own life – living it out for him to see, that there are certain choices that you’re willing to make yourself, choices that separate youfrom everyone else – that will speak more loudly than your words ever could. I hope you’ll see clearly today the powerful distinction between “let me tell you how it’s done” and “let me show you how it’s done.”
That’s because really, in the end, it takes what it takes for you, too. The choices required of your champion athlete are the same choices required of you, your athlete’s champion parent. Or your husband or wife’s champion spouse. Or your boss’s champion employee. Or you, the champion… anything! If you’re going to be great, you don’t have a lot of choices.
So, in the important areas of your life today, will you be willing to do the work that’s uncomfortable or inconvenient? Or will you only do the work that’s quick and easy?
Will you take responsibility for what happens in your life, especially when things go wrong? Or will you play the role of the victim – blaming, making excuses, and avoiding responsibility?
Will you be surprised, offended, or unprepared for adversity when it comes your way? Or will you rise up to meet your challenges head on, fight through them with perseverance, and succeed in spite of your struggle?
Are you willing to change the way you think or act in order to succeed? Or will you refuse to change, and instead hang on to the negative habits or backward thinking that’s holding you back?
And finally, are you willing to accept that some circumstances are worthy of keeping you from doing your best? Or will you give a champion’s effort today, regardless of the circumstances?
If you want to be a champion, in sports parenting or any other area, you don’t have a lot of choices. There are no caveats. You can’t say, “yes, but…” or “yes, as long as…” or “yes, except for when…” That’s because a champion has come to the understanding that it takes what it takes. If you still think otherwise, as Nick Saban put it plainly, then you’re sadly mistaken. I hope today you’ll see clearly what it takes, and in doing so, help your child do the same.
Travis