Reintroducing Enthusiasm

by Leon Hady

A video of sports coach Geno Auriemma has become a viral sensation over the internet for it’s approach to team sports orientated at children[1]. In the video Auriemma suggests that attitude is just as, if not more important than talent, and notes that students playing sports focus too much on imitating their favourite sports personalities in their cool, detached and sometimes self-involved attitude.


This really struck a chord with me and many others, as this is something that should have attracted more attention than it has, and not just within sports but across education as a whole.


Auriemma states in the clip that showing passion and enthusiasm is actually a requirement for making the team he coaches, and when asked if his students do well because they’re the best or because of this method of selection, he suggested that it’s possible they are the best because their passion has lead them to become the best and work as a team.


Auriemma’s comments suggest that attitude can play a larger part in success than is frequently given credit, and especially than is necessarily portrayed by sports personalities and other successful figures within the public eye. However, the image that is commonly presented has become a dangerous trap for many, and youngsters in particular, since it encourages children to present themselves with the same attitude of excelling at something without trying or caring. It presents an idea that natural talent is more impressive and rewarded more frequently than putting dedication and effort into a task.


The reason Auriemma’s comments are so powerful is because they bring back into focus the importance of having the right drive and right attitude when approaching a task. Auriemma insists upon his students being passionate and enthusiastic, which is a lesson that resonates in all branches of education because, just as a smile can improve the mood of the person initiating it as well as those around them[2], passion and enthusiasm can create drive and focus in a person and encourage others around to mimic the same behaviours.


This infectious enthusiasm allows students to stop feeling like they need to be good at something instantly to value themselves or lend value to the task, and that putting in dedication and effort can lead to incredible results that can often be more rewarding. It allows them to be open, creative and see more possibilities around them.


If enthusiasm was actively taught and encouraged in schools rather than allowing a false sense of detachment to be students’ ideal model for success, the perception of learning would change and would encourage healthier models to choose from. This would likely improve the school environment for students and teachers as children would be less concerned with the appearance of not putting in effort and have better focus upon their activities.

The benefit would be most intensely felt through students gaining an understanding of the value of less goal oriented learning and focus more on the journey of trying, improving and exploring through learning.


Leon Hady is the former Headteacher of an ‘Outstanding’ school in the UK. He now focuses on online learning having created an online video personalisation portal; helping over 100,000 students pass exams at and also helping teachers become qualified alongside a nationwide recruitment agency to combat the teacher shortage in the UK