Slacktastic. Huh? That isn’t a word. It should be. Want a definition? Here it is: an athlete with fantastic potential who tends to be a slacker during strength & conditioning sessions. Now that you know what it means, I’m sure that you can think of an example. We’ve all dealt with this athlete before. You know the kid, the one with great potential, the one who halfway does his warmup, who you always have to wait on to start a drill because he or she is taking their sweet time, the one who always complains and has an excuse. Yeah, that kid. Usually these kids have been gifted with decent athletic skills. That’s why they tend to be slackers, because they’ve always been able to get by on their natural ability. When these athletes are training individually or in a small group, it becomes harder for them to be a slacker. Even though they may still try to get out of things, hopefully this can be cured through good coaching. What about in a large group setting? That is when the slacktastic athlete really comes out. When the weightroom has more bodies in it, these athletes tend to find ways to take their time, skip exercises, etc. In an ideal situation, there will be multiple coaches in the room to help with supervision. Unfortunately, especially in high schools nowadays, there is rarely enough supervision to coach effectively and to eliminate problems. That’s when it becomes very important for coaches to “have eyes in the back of their heads”. That’s also when a coach has to make sure that what they see from a kid is really what they are getting from the kid. I’ve heard stories of kids putting on a great show when they know that the coach is watching. If they aren’t being watched, their slacktastic qualities shine through. Part of being a great coach is truly getting to know your athletes. This is part of that. Discovering that a kid isn’t putting out 100% also gives a coach (or parent) a chance to teach some life lessons. This is a valuable part of athletics that should never be overlooked. Of course, possibly the greatest reason to hold these athletes accountable is because it can affect your team. Other kids are great at picking up on these sorts of problems. Many times the hard working kids will know who doesn’t go all out. This then leads to negative feelings, especially if the kids that don’t work hard all of the time still get lots of playing time. These issues tend to stay small as long as things are going well. However, as soon as the team faces adversity these problems tend to snowball. The best way to prevent these sorts of issues? Hold all of your athletes accountable every day. Make sure that the “superstars” realize that you know if they aren’t giving 100%. You can also try to create competitive situations where the “slacktastic” athetes will be held accountable by their teammates. While it can be a challange to deal with those who don’t go all out every day, dealing with and solving this issue is part of good coaching.