Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. That famous line, delivered by two-time NBA champion Kevin Durant in his 2011 Most Valuable Player speech, originated from high school basketball coach Tim Notke — and it couldn’t be more true than right now.
Athletes around the world are self-quarantining, practicing social distancing and out of their normal routines. With fitness centers and non-essential businesses closed, many don’t have anywhere to go, and that could present a problem for any athlete becoming too idle.
“We are giving them workouts daily through Google Classroom. Coaches have Google Classrooms set up for specific sports and position groups to continue our learning for specific sports,” Angleton athletics director and head football coach Jason Brittain said.
This challenge is a difficult one because coaches and trainers can only do so much and it puts a heavy emphasis on the individual to bring themselves to adapt to their current situation and find a way to practice and get better.
That is where the expression about hard work is such a good representation of what is to come for sports and the athletes who play them. There is an abundance of talent in every sport, but if athletes aren’t working out and finding ways to improve themselves away from the demands of regular competition, it will show.
Depending on how long this pandemic lasts, we could see it first in high school soccer, which was on the cusp of its postseason, or in softball, baseball and track and field if the seasons are allowed to pick up.
It’s even possible you see the effects in the summer with athletes being behind the power curve in terms of fitness and knowledge of the X’s and O’s for fall sports.
In sports, some schools have better athletes, better facilities, better equipment and better coaches to prepare their players, but this could be a big opportunity for athletes who don’t have those things to close or even surpass that gap.
We all praise an underdog story, and this extended break could be the catalyst for them to develop, where hard-working small schools and undersized athletes work hard to overcome the wealth of talent on the other side. This is a time where we will truly see who loves the sports they play and wants to win and who plays just to play or because they’ve always been good.