by Bob Vandersluis

My kids give me so much inspiration.  I seek them out daily to teach me life lessons.  I am blessed to be a dad, and to have two amazing children who keep me on my toes.

My son Braydon really loves STUFF.  He is really into building things, sports and electronics.

We asked him to fill out his Christmas list to send to Santa this year, and it literally took him over 2 hours to complete.  Not because he was putting way too much thought into it, but because his list had over 32 items on it.

Braydon is 7, but acts like a 13 year old sometimes.  On his list he had multiple game systems, a dirt bike, a 4 wheeler, hockey sticks…an iphone…cmon.

I was appalled.  How bad of a job have I done as a father for my son to be so greedy?  I was disappointed in myself.

But, then I realized, he just doesn’t really understand what it takes to get those things.  The value of money, the value of time and effort.  After all, he’s 7.

So, I decided to see how much he was willing to sacrifice to get some things on his list.

I told him that Santa would only be able to get him one thing on his list, but if he made a chore chart, and started sacrificing some of his free time, that dad would make sure he got a few more things.

He has started sweeping the floors, cleaning his room, making his bed, loading the dishwasher and putting away his laundry.

While all of these “chores” may seen like bribery, he is going to learn a valuable lesson at the end.


Hard work, desire, and determination pay off. 




This is a question we ask frequently to really gauge a few things that will help us understand your perspective and your drive.

I approach this with some tentativeness, especially with our younger athletes, because man of them are unsure of what they really want, or at least unsure of how to get the thing that they really want.


This is a good opportunity to break down the desire, and focus on some smaller steps.


DESIRE- a strong feeling of wanting something or wishing something to happen


My first question is always: “What are you willing to sacrifice to get what you want?”




“Ok, what are you willing to do to get what you want?”


“Anything”…is usually the reply.  To which I respond with “ANYTHING..?  Are you sure?”


We then will go over a few things that some of the best in their sport have said they have changed to get where they wanted to be.


Jason Kidd– ” It’s a lot of late nights and early mornings in the gym.  It’s a lot of time away from your family and friends.  Those are the sacrifices you have to make if you want to be an NBA player.


Jesse Owens- “We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.”


Kobe Bryant- “There is a choice we have to make as individuals, if we want to be great at something.  There are inherent sacrifices that come along with that.  Time with friends, time with family, are some sacrifices that come with the decision to be great.


These are not easy decisions for tweens, and teens especially, heck, they are not easy decisions for adults.  The feeling of missing out on something always seems so intense.  Listening to stories about the laughs, or the excitement you were not a part of can be gut wrenching.


But, the glory and the joy from accomplishing significant goals can even more emotional, and rewarding.

And really, missing a few nights out, or birthday parties, or beach days, really don’t add up to much.

Especially if you can use that time to still do something you love, and know that there are rewards at the end.


10,00 HOURS


How many hours are you actually willing to put towards your goals.  Do you kinda want to achieve them, or are you hell bent and determined to reach them?  If you practice 2 hours a day, every day of the year, this 10,000 goal will take over 13 years.  If you start this when you are 4 or 5, you will be an adult by the time you are an expert.  This seems so unrealistic.

But, check out the concept explained by the man himself.


Below is an snippet from Malcolm Gladwell and his thoughts from the book Outliers, which highlights the concept of requiring 10,000 hours practicing something in order to be considered an expert.


So, at the end of the day, what ARE you willing to give up.  Everyone has a line.  But if your goals and dreams are enormous, your sacrifices may have to match.  If you have smaller things you would like to accomplish, then the things you may have to relinquish may be easier to swallow.


We set goals with all of our athletes to start each new session.  We then have an idea of the work it is going to take to get them where they want to be.


Set a goal, and then decide HOW BAD DO YOU REALLY WANT IT, and that will determine the steps you must be willing to take to get there.