“If You Want to Be Good, You Don’t Have a lot of Choices”

“If You Want to Be Good, You Don’t Have a lot of Choices”


Nick Saban, head football coach at the University of Alabama held a press conference and spoke off the cuff about something he called an “illusion of choice.” He said, “We have a younger generation that isn’t told no or told exactly how to do it.” As a consequence, many young people have this illusion they can do what they want. “The fact of the matter is that if you want to be good, you really don’t have a lot of choices,” Saban said. “It takes what it takes. You have to do what you have to do to be successful.”

Joe’s Perspective: Let’s face it. Nick Saban gets many of the best athletes to attend the University of Alabama. My guess is that many of these athletes have been told how great they are for most of their young lives. They might not have had to work hard to be the best player on their high school team. They were superstars. Then, they get to Alabama and quickly find themselves 3rd on the depth chart. Saban sees this happen over and over again.  These athletes come to understand that there are few choices to becoming great.

This lesson is not just applicable at Alabama. Athletes in little league, high school, college and the pros learn these lessons the hard way at one point or another.  The world is full of ditch diggers who were once labeled as “can’t miss.” More times than not, they “miss” because they “have an illusion of choice.”

Your Turn: To what extent do you agree with Nick Saban when he says, “We have a younger generation that isn’t told no or told exactly how to do it.”



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  1. Often athletes are left with two choices. They can either take the easy, more fun route or they can get in the gym and get better. People who take the easy route find later that sleeping in or hanging out with friends isn’t worth it, because they will end up not playing.

  2. You either have the choice of taking the lazy route and only grind when you want to or you you can get better everyday by putting in the extra work when nobody is watching and also working even harder on the days you don’t feel like doing anything.

  3. I do agree with nick that our generation isn’t told no a lot. And they are left with eaither working hard by yourself and improving or taking the easy way out and having more fun by doing nothing. Working hard with get you were you want to be.

  4. I understand where he is coming from because many millennials are told that they’re perfect and given participation ribbons and told they have already become the best even when they haven’t. However I think our generation is still told what to do and disciplined – specifically in sports.

  5. I think that when younger kids are told that they are already perfect, they lose the motivation to get better and improve, thinking that they have already achieved everything there is to achieve. It’s hard to find the fine line between being encouraging and giving tough love.

  6. I agree completely. I think you can either work hard or not word at all. Working hard will get you the results you want if you put enough into it.

  7. As a younger generation, many of us feel that we can get away with whatever we want. The fact of the matter is is that we have older people that know how to get stuff done the right way, and if we don’t follow them we would be lost

  8. Nick is right. The people our age and around our age are making bad choices all the time such as partying and having more fun but hard work and the success from the hard work you put in is better than anything else at the time.

  9. This generation is often told nothing. Which can result in them doing whatever, whenever. Nick is a wise man and even though he gets talented young men to continuously join Alabama he often suggests that if you want to become ever greater than you are now than you have to adjust and change to become successful.

  10. I agree with that statement just because teens growing up nowadays have their own self advocacy in which they decide if they want to put 100% effort into their work or not, and we do not think of how it will help with a better outcome.

  11. I agree that some kids are told they are already great and maybe need a little more morivation. I think some coaches and parents do change that by motivating their kids and telling them what to strive for.

  12. I agree with nick completely. In general, our generation is not often told no. If you want to accomplish your goals, it’s not going to be all fun and games, and hard work is required. Sometimes you may not want to do the hard work, but you have to do whatever it takes to be successful.

  13. I kind of agree because in daily life, there are a lot of kids who just get their way, and aren’t told no, but in sports, it’s either yes, you did it well, or no, you need to keep working until you get it right.

  14. I agree. I think many people of our generation assume something is really easy and then underestimate their abilities when they realize that it is difficult. If they received the right instruction and motivation, such as role models instilling a strong work ethic in the kids, then we would have a more determined and hardworking generation.

  15. I agree because it’s easy for people our age to think they’re the best and don’t need to practice or work hard. This however isn’t true because they realize soon that while they weren’t working hard, someone else was and the person working harder got better

  16. In some ways I agree because in school and at home some kids only hear yes but I think in sports we’re use to not just winging things without someone else’s opinion.

  17. In some ways I agree because in school and at home some kids only hear yes but I think in sports we’re use to not just winging things without someone else’s opinion.

  18. i agree that people are getting less and less motivated into doing what will make them the best overall and that we all need to get that trait back.

  19. I believe that there are a lot of kids nowadays who have never been told no or told exactly how to do it. Everyone these days is just relying on pure talent to get them through, as well as people on social media calling them unstoppable or the best in their class, all of this is just proving the idea that they have never had someone tell them that just because they are a super star in their hometown does not mean they can always have life on cruise control because they have talent. Work ethic over talent.

  20. i extent to agree because the younger generation should understand that the few choices are to becoming great and successful. i believe that many young people have the ability to do whatever they want.

  21. You have the choice between taking the lazy way and only do things when you want or you you can get better everyday by putting in the extra work and working even harder on the days you don’t have motivation.

  22. When younger kids are growing up in the generation that we’re living in today, it’s almost as if we’re being thrown into danger. Nobody can really properly show us how to deal with any of this.

  23. I agree fully with Nick Saban because a lot of people nowadays aren’t told the word no. And sometimes coaches let the kids not do the sport fully.

  24. I 100% agree with Nick Saban, even though I know there are kids who do what they are told, there are still others out there who don’t know how to take no for an answer.

  25. I agree with Coach Saban completely. They are hardly told no. I like the example that he gave. All of these kids that come into Alabama are usually very gifted and had’nt had to work very hard to get there, but once they get there they find themselves thrid or fourth on the depth chart. That leaves them with the choice to work hard.

  26. I disagree, while there are some people where this is true, I believe that most people in my generation are independent and work through problems on their own.

  27. I think that things are way more forgiving in this generation than what they were when my parents or grandparents were younger. That is both a good and bad thing, because like Nick stated, children aren’t used to hearing the word no as often as the older generations were. The newer generations are given more freedom to make their own choices but that means there is more at stake when it comes to consequences.

  28. I think that Nick does make a good point. In order to be great, athletes need to listen to their coach and try harder and they every have.