Yesterday I found one of my regular kids (8-years old) was not putting effort into his shots. He was just going through the motions inside the comfort zone. He normally hits 10 out of 25 shots, but this time, he only got 3 out of 25.
Instead of nagging at him to try harder, I decided to show him how I would do it. While I was doing the drill, I spoke out loud, "head up, load up, flex the stick, accelerate, wrist rotation". I demonstrated confidence, maximum effort every shot, at the end of the drill, I had hit 9 out of 10 shots, I was out of breath, and I had even worked up a little sweat.
It inspired him. He hit 15 out of his next 25 shots. He stopped looking around to see where his dad was. He was accelerating with his legs towards the net. He was trying his best and I didn't have to criticize his first performance or give him some long boring motivational speech on how to try harder.
Then I brought out the heavy pucks. He was not happy about that. In the first round, he only got 1 point (a player gets a point for every time they hit their target number on the radar gun out of 20 shots). Again, I demonstrated how I would do the drill. It inspired him and he got 8 points on his next round.
We need to teach this effort to our kids (and ourselves) on a daily basis. If you find your kid to be low on effort, they need someone to show them... dad, mom, sister, brother, friend etc. It's like going to the gym, we do so much better when we have a partner to motivate and push us.