Those who work with athletes (or even individual clients) will know this. Some time athletes don't necessarily give you 100% of their focus and attention. It is our job as coaches to ensure that the athlete is giving their attention so that skill development can occur. But what is this skill? How can coaches approve on their ability to demand focus. This is a skill that really coaches have and what separates them from everyone else is their ability to recognize when an athlete's focus is fading.
Lets face it, athletes are competitive by nature. This is partially why they are competing in athletes on the collegiate scale. As a coach, this is a particularly good trait to latch onto. Use their competitive fire and create an atmosphere around your training that demands and challenges their competitiveness. Pete Carroll does an excellent example of this.
"We want to make it as competitive as we can make it. That's the priority. Our guys are so accustomed to it, they don't know anything else." - Pete Carroll.
So as a coach, if you start to see your athletes' attention start to fade. Think about the workout and see if there are any elements you can change to make it more of a competition. Can you separate the team up into different groups and challenge the other team by which team coaches louder during the workout? How about running or biking on treadmills or bikes the furthest in a given time period? On the Keiser equipment, which team had greater power output? Nonetheless there are certainly elements of every workout that a good coach can make into a challenging competition that will draw out athletes attention and focus. It's our responsibility to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep our athletes engages, training, and last but not least, safe and able to play their sport.