John Wooden is a coaching rock star and legend. So I thought, what better gift to give my readers during this holiday season than a series on Wooden’s Pyramid of Success? Join me for a series of posts that will delve into both the foundation and apex of his Pyramid and examine Wooden’s thoughts on Industriousness, Enthusiasm, Friendship, Loyalty, Cooperation, Competitive Greatness, and finally, Faith & Patience.
So I think the fact that I have a coaching blog and a Twitter account devoted to coaching shows that I’m pretty passionate about coaching in general…and volleyball in particular. But even before all of that, I made sure that every team that I coached understood how much I loved the sport. On that first day of practice, I would sit them down and tell them the ways that I love volleyball…I love the way the ball sounds as it’s being passed, I love the sound of the gym when everyone’s talking and playing hard, I love the cheers at the end of plays, and on and on I would go so that they understood that their coach was crazy about the sport. Let’s look at ways that coaches can create an atmosphere of enthusiasm on their teams and in their gyms.
3 ways to make your enthusiasm for your sport and job contagious
“You have to like what you’re doing, your heart must be in it.”
I love volleyball and I love coaching. It’s one of the first things that I say to recruits and at the beginning of each season. Whenever folks ask me what I’d do if I were a multi-millionaire…and I always say: coach volleyball. I love the sport and find it amazing that someone’s actually willing to pay me to do the one thing that I love and am good at! Because of my love of the sport, I believe that I’ve always attracted athletes of a similar mindset to whatever program I’m coaching…ladies who love to work the sport, learn about the sport, and get better at the sport.
“Enthusiasm brushes off on those with whom you come into contact.”
After you’ve been coaching at a program for a while, your athletes seem like they start to act like you a little, don’t they? And I think that’s because your love of the sport is brushing off on them. Your seniors will have had four years to bask in how fired up you are about coaching your sport, your juniors will feel the seniors’ love, while your underclassmen will assume that they’re supposed to love the sport because they’re following along with what your upperclassmen are doing. As a coach, you have the opportunity to create an environment where your players love the sport and love working hard at the sport.
“Leaders must always generate enthusiasm if they wish to bring out the best in themselves and those under their supervision.”
Our job, as coaches, is to lead people and inspire them to be greater and better than they ever thought that they could be. Our players should be able to look at us and know that we love what we do, we’re good at what we do, and we have their best interests at heart. Enthusiasm in those three areas will pay off dividends as we ask them to sacrifice their minds, bodies, and time. And taking the step just beyond that, we have the marvelous opportunity to model leadership to our student-athletes…to show them what true enthusiasm for your sport and craft looks like. I hope that none of us take that responsibility lightly.
Enthusiasm and Industriousness are the cornerstones of Wooden’s Pyramid…meaning that everything else stems from those two things. That’s good news because both of those things are completely within our control! Next up: Friendship.