Written By HSBCAMPS Director Carson Sofro On February 7, 2011

I had a conversation with a colleague late last week about the concept of “Guaranteed” results. This has always been hard for me to understand. How can you “Guarantee” results in sports?

Although foreign to me, it is something that is promised all over the country.  Parents are willing to spend thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars to get their children to that next level. They will hire the best of the best, in hopes that the best will ensure greatness.

Many professionals who offer services such as these, “Guarantee” results. “I guarantee I can make your son or daughter play at the next level.” Bold statement if you ask me, considering there are so many factors that go in to who makes it and who doesn’t.

In my humble opinion – here are four factors that play into the equation.

You Cannot Teach Athleticism – Athleticism is a gift you are born with or without. You can build strength, you can improve quickness, you can even increase your vertical leap, however the ability to jump 40 plus inches in the air is something that you cannot teach.  A scout once told me there are three ways to make it to the NBA.  You are a phenomenally well rounded player, do one or two things extremely well, or are just a freak athlete. You can’t teach the freak.

The Biggest Influence in the Game is Between Your Ears – Mental toughness is a very hard concept to teach, and something very few ever truly learn. Although Kobe and Lebron are incredibly gifted and hard working athletes, in my opinion, their advantage over competition lies in their head. They are mentally solid in every aspect of the game, which is why they can do what they do night after night.

Geography – I was a factor of this one. You can be a great player, but if no one ever sees you, it doesn’t matter. Though this is becoming easier with advances in technology and the increasing availability of the internet, growing up in Idaho or Montana, for example, is no advantage. Most scouts do not even know where those places are.

Under most circumstances, in order to be great, you need to surround yourself with those that are great or greater than you. You need to challenge yourself by playing with the best players and the toughest competition. This can be hard when you factor in where you live. Sun Valley, Idaho where I grew up, was not a hot bed for future basketball stars. I had to travel to compete, which is not always easy to do.

Dedication and Determination – I have been running HSBCAMPS for years now and this is perhaps the issue that our kids struggle with most. Do you WANT to play at the next level or do you HAVE to play at the next level?

Most people want something but they either don’t understand what it takes to get it or they refuse to work hard enough. There are hundreds of thousands of athletes as we speak, training, competing, and doing everything possible to achieve their dreams. Greatness is not easy – if it was, it would be easily achieved. Even the best are working every day to become better. Think of all of those that are competing for your spot right now.

Formerly a sales manager at 24 Hour Fitness, I used to talk to people about their goals and why they were interested in joining the gym. We had a “Guaranteed” training program with “Guaranteed” results. We could guarantee whatever we wanted, as much as we wanted, but I knew as well as anyone that it did not mean it was going to happen. You can promise, you can preach, and you can motivate all you want, but if the person you are pushing does not want to be pushed, it is all for nothing. The guarantee lies with each individual.

I am a firm believer that if we set ourselves up to accomplish, anything is possible. The key lies in WE. We need coaches, we need trainers, we need mentors in our lives, but only WE can force ourselves to do that extra workout, shoot those extra jump shots, and to study when we are exhausted. There’s that old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” The water is there, are you going to drink? Only you can make that decision and don not let anyone tell you otherwise. There are no substitutes for hard work and dedication and no amount of “Guaranteeing” will ever change that.