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Why 110% Doesn’t Exist

 Practice begins and we are about to start drills. It’s a hot humid summer day in Minnesota and our coach explains what we are going to do for practice. Before the drills begin the coach yells out, “I know it’s hot out but I still want 110%!”

Wait, what does that even mean? 

Last I checked 100% is the most you can possibly give. I mean, math is not my strong suit, but I’m pretty sure 110% doesn’t exist. 

This is a phrase that I often hear whether it’s in the sports world, during a workout or even in the workplace. I appreciate the point and meaning behind it, but let’s face it, it is unrealistic. 

Instead of expecting 100%, or an unrealistic 110% from your team, expect them to give you 100% of what they HAVE that day.

You might think that you are motivating those around you by always saying, “Give 110%,” but you are actually saying, “Make sure you go above and beyond your actual capacity.” 

100% is a flawed mindset that does more bad than good. If we think we need to always ‘do more’ than we become fixated on overdoing things, extending ourselves too far, and overstepping onto others. 

I understand that as a coach, parent, or even boss you want to get the most out of your players, children, and employees. No one wants a slacker and someone who gives less than they can. However, even expecting 100% from everyone day in and day out isn’t possible. 

Life happens! 

For example, if one of my athletes recently had a loved one pass away, or has endured an injury, I would not expect the same output that they formerly produced. Do I still expect them to work hard though? Yes, absolutely! 

Our energy fuels are similar to that of a gas tank. Some days we have 100%, but some days we may only have around 50%. 

Instead of expecting that everyone has a full tank each day, get to know your team and understand how much they have to give. If someone is having a tough time let them know that you understand that they might not have 100% in them, but that you still expect them to give everything that they can, whether that’s 75%, 50%, or even 25%. 

Remember to give what you have. Some days you might only have half a tank, some days you might have a full tank. Use as much as you have to give! Setting realistic expectations will go far for yourself and your team.

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