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The Intern

The Intern


One of the coaches that I am mentoring was having a hard time understanding playing time for those on the team who didn’t have the physical abilities of the more talented players. I explained to him that no one really knows when “suck” is going to happen. Players need playing time to be able to foster inter team competition for the betterment of the team and individual. Look, most teams of 20 have this kind of breakdown. They have a top 2 or 3 and then 12-15 who are all about the same, and then 2 at the end that are not very good. But that last guy could be your diamond in the rough, that late bloomer, that as coaches and players, we all pull for, and we will never know because a coach wouldn’t find some meaningful minutes for him to play during a long season.


 And some of that mindset is directly related to the parents’ pressure on their child, the coach, and the organization.


Now it’s important to understand that the talent difference between these kids is way more determined by playing time, or lack thereof, than it is on talent. Remember human beings do not physically develop fully until they are 23, 24 or 25. So to say that this kid or that kid is a bench player in their teens is not supported by scientific fact.


 I asked him if he had an intern where he worked. He explained to me that he had recently had an intern who he worked with directly.


I wondered out loud did he put the intern in a room and give him meaningless jobs to do. If he did, how did he think the intern would react? Did he stand over the intern and repeatedly bark instructions to him?  Would his intern harbor mistrust and resentment towards his company and adults in general when he wasn’t given a chance for meaningful work experience? Would he feel that the “internship” was devoid of any real hands on learning experience? How would that paint the picture of your company going forward for other interns? What would he tell his parents, his teachers, and his friends about the poor experience he had when he left your business and returned to college? We keep saying how smart kids are these days, but then we don’t put them in situations where they can fail safely, the key to long term growth and development.


 In this case, I asked him if pointing out the interns mistakes in front of other people was the way he would want to be treated? Did he really think that the intern did not see the mistakes he and others made in the office? Did the intern wonder why he was being singled out? Did you make a sincere effort to make him feel part of the business when he was there?

Now you know what the kids think and feel who don’t get to play on teams in youth and high school sports.

Written by : VJS