Patience is a virtue. The early bird gets the worm. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. There are a million of these little idioms, some which make more sense than others, and they tend to have one thing in common: an indication of the value of hard work and dedication. At least that’s my take away—in all my years, I’ve yet to encounter one along the lines of “He who waits shall be rewarded,” though I have received a fortune cookie or two to that effect. But I digress.
My son was a perfect example. In his world, everything was better if it was fast. He eats dinner fast? It means he was a super eater. He cleans up his room fast? He did an awesome job (never mind the fact that there’s still shrapnel from whatever activity was in play remaining). It’s great that he was doing those things—but was he doing them well? No. The answer is just no.
As a parent, one of our top missions is to mold our little people into the best versions of themselves they can be. (Notice I didn’t say into the best _______ because to fill that blank means we’d be shaping them into what we want, but that’s for another day.) Part of that “best” is doing their best—and it’s up to us to teach them what that means.
Our children look to us for markers of value. Do we value quantity? Speed? Efficiency? When they “sniff it out,” they’ll work to meet those standards. So it’s up to us to inform them of what the true markers of quality are.
That’s why, at PCT, we drive toward a personal-work ethic approach. Not everyone has the same natural talents—and that’s ok, we’ll develop those talents! What we see, more than just who tumbles the best, is who is working their hardest. When they’re here, we want to see your athlete doing their personal best. Here are a few things that help define a great work ethic within our environment:
Time management. We work with multiple athletes at once, so not all time is one-on-one; what does your athlete do with their time while they’re here? In the perfect scenario, they’re ready for their turn every time it comes, and when they aren’t up, they’re practicing. That may mean strengthening or working on leg positions, their dance or motions, or their jump sequence. Beyond that, be ready—that means being not on time, but early for every practice and competition.
Focus. If you aren’t going to focus and do everything with heart, you may as well not do it at all. An athlete with great work ethic makes a point to focus on the task at hand—even when it may not be what they want to be doing—and to do their best every time. They will not distract their peers, and they will work to improve and perfect—even if they’re already great at it. Point those toes —you get the idea.
Social skills. Part of a great work ethic is being someone great to work with. Be friendly, be genuine, and don’t be afraid to converse. The middle of floor time may not be the perfect time, but there are always water breaks and time before and after practice.
Master a great work ethic at our gym and it’s bound to carry over into life; the same qualities that will serve you well here will serve you well at school, a job, and throughout your career.
Natalie Vonlanthen is one of the owners of PCT Cheer and Tumble. A 30+ year coach of hundreds and hundreds of young women; her personal mantra is “nobody every drowned in sweat”.