More than 100%?

Coaches, we need to be careful about the language we use. How many times have you asked your players to give you more than 100%? How many times have you asked them to give you more than they can? I know I have asked this of my teammates and myself many times, but what exactly does it mean to give more than 100%? Is it even possible?

Now I understand the sentiment in asking a player to give more than 100%. We want them to dedicate themselves to the sport. We want them to leave it all on the field. We have this belief that our players don’t want to be there or aren’t giving us everything they can. Sometimes we feel like they aren’t trying or aren’t working hard enough. And we feel like we need to remind them to push harder and go beyond what they think they can give. But is it even possible to get a player to give more than 100%? How can someone give more than everything they have?

Here’s the thing, a player cannot give more than 100%. To get 100% we as coaches need to approach each player and find what makes them tick as an individual. Why are they playing? What do they want to get out of this? What drives them? We as coaches must approach the team as a whole and create a culture where the players are motivated to work harder for the person next to them because they believe that person will work just as hard for them.

Once we have created these relationships with our players and our teams then we can move on to the next step. We don’t ask them to give us more than 100%, but rather we ask them if they think they are giving us 100%. If they believe they are giving us everything they can then we can ask what can we do to make that 100% better? What work can the player put in outside of practice? Can they show up early to practice? Can they watch soccer on TV? What can they do to create a better 100% for themselves?

We as coaches must be aware of the language we use. All too often we ask for the impossible but if we change the way we approach a topic we can ask the same in a different manner. By asking how we can create a better 100% we can get more out of our players and help them improve themselves. By asking them to give more than 100% we are running a risk of losing players to injury by having them push harder than they can and going too far.