“The road to achievement takes time, a long time, but you do not give up. You may have setbacks. You may have to start over. You may have to change your method. You may have to go around, or over, or under. You may have to back up and get another start. But you do not quit. You stay the course. To do that, you must have intentness.”—John Wooden
John Wooden is the man. There’s really no other way to see it. I thumb through his book, Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court, at least once a week. In the section he devotes to intentness, he uses different words as synonyms to describe what intentness means to him. So I’ve decided to look those words up in order to shed more light on exactly what intentness should mean to us with our teams. It turns out that it’s not just one thing, but a combination of five wonderful traits that all of us would love to see in our players.
5 characteristics of teams that are intent on success
Determination: When I looked this word up, the definition that stood out to me was “firmness of purpose”. I often remind my team that they’ve got to be sure of their goals, because achieving them will be hard. If they’re not sure…it may just be too hard. Building our team goals on a firm foundation of belief will help our teams to be determined.
Persistence: “Constantly repeating” is what the dictionary had to say about this one. As a coach, I love that definition, because that’s another way of saying “practice”! If our teams are persistent in their approach to practices (and corrections within practice), then success is sure to follow.
Tenacity: Love this one too! “Holding together, cohesive, tough.” Like I talked about with determination, sometimes the road to success is very hard. Weak teams fall apart…they start fighting amongst each other or forming cliques within the team. But strong teams? The hard times bring them together and make them a more cohesive unit.
Perseverance: “Steady persistence in a course of action, especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.” Can you imagine a season without difficulties? Have you had one without obstacles? Surely there have been points during the season when your team is discouraged. In spite of it all, we press on…never losing hope that we’ll be successful in the end!
Patience: This one is a toughie for anyone…who really wants to be patient? Most of us would rather be successful now rather than later, but that’s not the way it typically works. Generally you plug away, always doing things the right way, until your team (eventually) finds success. The definition: “the capacity for calmly enduring pain or trying situations.”
If we nurture these characteristics in our teams, I believe that we’ll be on our way to building successful teams, seasons, and players.
Join me in a series discussing John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. I believe his Pyramid can be applied to our teams, our recruiting efforts, how we behave as professionals, and to our lives in general. This series will cover Self-Control, Alertness, Initiative, Intentness, Condition, Skill, Team Spirit, Poise, and Confidence.