Instilling hard work and discipline
The sayings that “hard work brings success”, and “no pain, no gain” are quickly being demonised and treated as relics. These have been replaced by “we need not work hard, but work smart”.
Unfortunately, the latter has crept into many spheres of Vincentian lives, inclusive of the way our sportsmen and women (both young and old) view their craft.
In general, our sportsmen and women are not prepared to roll up their sleeves, make the sacrifices and “suck salt” as it were, in order to ensure that they better their personal performances.
They know that success attained by the highly-paid international sports personalities, who they often idolise, comes from hard work. Our sportsmen and women know that these achievements have not been reliant only on their God-given talents, nor by any luck. In short, their success has not come from handouts, and lazing around; instead from hard work, discipline and commitment.
Many of the narratives of the success stories of these international stars are their innate desires to excel and to be the best that they can be. It will be argued that they are paid handsomely, hence, they are required to keep their levels up to an optimum.
On the other end, locally, we have adopted the short-cut approach, as the now for now phenomenon often takes effect.
Too, our sports personnel have pinned their anticipated triumphs on those external factors.
Vincentian sports is being left behind, because there is not much emphasis placed on preparation. This is against the emerging science and habits, where no longer is sports training guess work, as there are cycles of preparations which can be implemented to maximise performance.
The science is there, are the finger-tips, our coaches have the knowledge.
However, because of our cultural orientation, what is done in sports is a microcosm of what occurs in the bigger national picture, the manner in which things are done generally.
Set aside the science though, that sense of purpose to do well, is somewhat missing, as mediocrity has acquired top priority.
Even prior to the scientific evidence of preparation have been proven to come directly in line with performance; our sportsmen and women of decades ago, were known to put in the work.
This occurred when the only incentives were selection on a national team; the chance to travel overseas; sleep in a hotel and in a few cases, get a stipend.
Back then persons did it their for themselves, their clubs and more so, their country.
A case in point was one of our most accurate goal shooters of the 1980s and early 1990s – Clothel Young, with a netball pole placed in her yard, would have made it a routine to score 100 shots before she made her way on mornings to attend school at the Bishop’s College Kingstown.
Then too, our national footballers and those at the club level, made training a priority. Yes, in those days, there were not the many advancements in technology to compete for people’s sporting attention.
This is not to say that at present, there are not persons who have the propensity and the knack to train and be regimental in their efforts, but it is too few and far between.
Doing well starts with oneself, having that aspiration to perform, and do so with excellence.
Then steps in coaches and administrators, who have to insist on a training regime that is a prerequisite for selection.
It is the same way that national cricketers must attain a set mark on the yo yo test before they can be selected, or in the case of our national footballers, who have to go through the beep test.
Physical training though is one aspect of preparation, but plays a great part in the entire package of readiness.
St Vincent and the Grenadines getting to the point where sportsmen and women accept that nothing comes easy and success has a cost, will take some doing, not far-fetched and unattainable In changing the status quo, we have to take as a mantra as a people, not only in sports, but other walks of life, the famed statement made by Thomas Edison, who said that genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.
Hard work and discipline, in the way we do things as Vincentians, is the only way to go.
Instilling such values must start from the earliest possible time in children.