Hard work beats talent …

Sonja Karp, NLJ Sports Editor


… when talent doesn’t work hard.

There’s nothing more satisfying and awe-inspiring than to watch pure, natural talent playing out in front of you in any sports arena. 

At least if you’re a sports fan.

However, natural ability isn’t a guarantee that you will be the best athlete on the floor. 

Over the years, I have had the pleasure to work with, as well as simply be a fan of, some pretty amazing players. They were born with athletic prowess and they put in the effort to hone their God-given talent into something pretty impressive to behold.

At the same time, I have also watched players who were gifted natural athletic ability, but were lazy and relied solely on that God-given talent to carry them to success.

The truth of the matter is that nothing that is worthwhile comes easy or free. It turns out that no matter where you start, in order to be your best and to achieve your full potential, you have to put in the work.

With that said, I have also watched players who may not have been as gifted in the athleticism department rise to great heights because they made it happen. I see that situation play out more often than seeing a natural talent, actually.

They spent extra time practicing their sport, working to become stronger, learning the ins and outs of the game, developing muscle memory, and making sure they were doing everything in their power to be their best.

Watching that athlete on the court, field, pool or whatever arena is pretty darned special.

Former Dogie head cross country coach Pat Hayman used to use a Steve Prefontaine quote which said, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” 

That quote really sums it all up pretty perfectly.

The great athletes that have reached the pinnacle of their sport didn’t get there because they sat around doing as little as possible. They dedicated themselves to honing their craft so that they earned a place among the best in the country or the world.

They’ve spent hours of hard work getting themselves into the best possible physical shape. They’ve put up thousands of shots, thousands of passes, they practice handling the ball and spend countless hours repeatedly perfecting the fundamentals of their sport.

And that hard work ultimately ended up paying off for them.

Whatever it is that you endeavor to do, you have to commit yourself to putting forth the work in order to be great. If you are blessed with the gift of talent, that’s a bonus, but it’s not enough to get you to the peak of your potential.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.


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