Category Archives: Pyramid of success

Do These 3 Things To Remove The Barrier Between You And Your Success

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After writing for two years straight, I think it’s time for a blog vacation!  But never fear, dear reader, I won’t leave you alone during my vacay.  Please enjoy some of my oldies (but goodies!) about something near and dear to my heart: The Pyramid of Success.

“It is impossible to attain and maintain desirable physical condition without first achieving mental and moral condition.”—John Wooden

As we sit down and review past seasons, I wonder how many of us take conditioning into consideration.  Beyond that, I wonder how many of us build conditioning into our practice plans.  Of course, I’m talking about Wooden-type conditioning, which is deeper than running sprints and lifting weights.  Read on to find out the three types of conditioning necessary for successful players, teams, and seasons.

3 reasons why proper conditioning is vital to reaching your potential

1.      Mental condition. The season is a long haul and the players (and coaches) have to mentally prepare themselves for the ups and downs that will inevitably happen from beginning to end.  Everyone is happy at the beginning of the season because we’re all mentally and physically fresh.  But what happens a couple of months into season and some folks see the writing on the wall, that they won’t play as much as they thought, and their school work is wearing on them?  The mentally strong teams will keep pushing through, relying on their team goals to keep them motivated.

2.      Moral condition. This is a particularly timely topic.  What would your players do if they could take a pill that would help them recover faster from tough workouts, go harder in the weight room, swing faster, and hit harder?  As you know, baseball has been dealing with this issue lately and I believe it’s a moral issue.  Will you do whatever it takes within the rules…or are you willing to operate in the grey zone just outside the rules?  I’d be wary of a coach or player who didn’t see any problems with breaking rules, because where does it stop?  We’ve got to believe that things will work out for those of us that do things the right way and even if it doesn’t, we’ve taught our players a valuable life lesson.

3.      Physical condition. Some sports require massive aerobic capacity.  While others require its participants to use tremendous explosive energy.  Every sport requires different levels of exertion, but the thing that all sports require is a commitment to doing what it takes to be in the best possible physical condition in order to be successful.  I believe that mental and physical conditioning go hand in hand.  For an athlete to push themselves to the edges of their limits daily requires a resolve that is a bit unnatural…therefore a significant goal is required.  As long as the goal is large enough and the players think it’s attainable through hard work, they’ll be willing to log long hours in the gym.

As Wooden says, “you must be conditioned for whatever you’re doing if you’re going to do it to the best of your ability”.  Hopefully, conditioning our athletes for success is a top priority for all of us coaches.

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.

Do You Recognize These 5 Qualities Of Intentness In Your Team?

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After writing for two years straight, I think it’s time for a blog vacation!  But never fear, dear reader, I won’t leave you alone during my vacay.  Please enjoy some of my oldies (but goodies!) about something near and dear to my heart: The Pyramid of Success.

“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.

3 Reasons Why Initiative Is The Antidote To Fear Of Failure

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After writing for two years straight, I think it’s time for a blog vacation!  But never fear, dear reader, I won’t leave you alone during my vacay.  Please enjoy some of my oldies (but goodies!) about something near and dear to my heart: The Pyramid of Success.

“If you’re afraid of failure, you will never do the things you are capable of doing.”—John Wooden

I sometimes wonder if we’re creating a generation of young people who have never had to deal with failure.  They play age group sports where the score isn’t kept, or if it is, they all get participation trophies or ribbons.  As a consequence, they don’t have to capability to navigate the emotions that failure brings, they don’t have the self-awareness that failure brings, and they most certainly don’t get the correction that failure brings.  As you can imagine, I believe that sport is a great teacher of all of those lessons and more.  In order to reach the pinnacle of the Pyramid (competitive greatness), a measure of initiative will be required…check out these three reasons why!

3 ways that having initiative will make your athletes courageous

They will have the courage to make decisions.
You’ve seen it.  I’ve seen it.  We’ve all seen it.  The athlete that looks at the bench constantly to check in with the coach.  They do something awesome…they check with coach.  They do something awful…they check with coach.  They are so unsure on their own two feet that they need constant reinforcement.  Not only is that player probably annoying to their coach, they’re suffering from a severe case of fear.  That player is afraid their coach isn’t happy with their performance.  With some time in the gym and some leeway to stretch their wings, that player can learn the type of initiative that’s necessary to make game time decisions that they’ll know their coach will be proud of…without checking the bench every two seconds!

They will have the courage to take action.
Say you’ve got captains.  And say they see some of their teammates doing things off of the court that are detrimental to their on-the-court performance.  It doesn’t even have to be something clearly wrong (and illegal) like underage drinking or doing drugs.  What will your captains do when they see their teammates lying to you about doing their weight room workouts?  Or when they hear that their teammates are playing another sport during the season and risking injury?  Well, if you’ve trained them well, they will take action.  They will talk to their teammate and hopefully squash it before you even know about the problem.

They will have the courage to push their limits.
What if I fail?  That’s a question that all of us ask ourselves at some point in time.  Folks with initiative push through that uneasy feeling.  Every year during our first practice of the season, I tell my team to let go of any aspirations of perfection.  I tell them that they’re going to make mistakes…sometimes really big ones.  And that sometimes those mistakes will come at crucial times and they’ll be so disappointed with themselves.  Then I reassure them that no one expects anything from them except their personal best…and the only way to get to their personal best is to test themselves.  Then I tell them that “testing yourself” is coach-speak for making mistakes and pushing their limits.  I want my team to have the courage to see just how good they can be…don’t you?

Let’s all agree to teach our teams about the antidote to fear:  initiative.

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.

3 Different Ways Alertness Is Important To Your Team

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After writing for two years straight, I think it’s time for a blog vacation!  But never fear, dear reader, I won’t leave you alone during my vacay.  Please enjoy some of my oldies (but goodies!) about something near and dear to my heart: The Pyramid of Success.

“As you strive to reach your personal best, alertness will make the task much easier.”—John Wooden

I’ve written before about using the Pyramid as a team building exercise with my team.  Without fail, alertness is a tough one for whomever is lucky enough to pick this particular block.  If you do an internet search on alertness, you’ll find lots of information about caffeinated products designed to keep people awake.  The alertness Wooden is talking about is deeper than that though.  I went to the always reliable Wikipedia to find out what they had to say about alertness. Using their page as a starting point, let’s talk about three ways we can help our teams use alertness to become more successful.

3 attributes of alert athletes

1.      Pay close and continuous attention. My high school volleyball coach talked about being alert so much so that our team started calling ourselves “lerts”.  We didn’t appreciate him enough at the time, because he was a wise man.  Imagine if our teams were consistently alert in practice!  Our athletes would learn from the coaching staff by listening and they’d learn from each other by watching.

2.      Be watchful and prompt to meet an emergency.  This one builds upon the first.  If our athletes have paid close and continuous attention, then they’ll be able to respond to an emergency.  You’re probably wondering what kind of an emergency our athletes will encounter on our courts and fields.  To me, the 6’2” girl across the net who can touch 10’2” constitutes an emergency!  Hopefully our athletes have learned to recognize tendencies and weaknesses in their opponents so that they can properly respond to whatever emergency presents itself in competition.

3.      Quick to perceive and act. This one is more of an intangible.  Don’t we want all of our athletes to be self-aware?  A big part of alertness is knowing their place on the team…and being happy with it.  The young lady whose skills aren’t up to par quite yet should be content with preparing the starters for competition.  That’s being alert to your position and role on the team.  Or how about when your team captain notices that one of her teammates has been down in the dumps lately, so she pays extra attention to her.  That’s being alert to your teammates’ disposition and how it could affect the group.

Can you think of other ways that alertness can be applied to our athletes?

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.

4 Ways That Self-Control Will Make Your Team Better

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After writing for two years straight, I think it’s time for a blog vacation!  But never fear, dear reader, I won’t leave you alone during my vacay.  Please enjoy some of my oldies (but goodies!) about something near and dear to my heart: The Pyramid of Success.

I’m an official banner-waving member of the John Wooden fan club.  He was a successful coach on the court, we know that through his multiple national championships.  But he was also a successful coach off of the court, we know that from the reverence his former players give him.  I’m sure all of us are trying to create those types of relationships and programs…so why not study the master?  Before I talk about self-control, I’d like to recap the first half of this series which covered the foundation and peak of the Pyramid.

  • Industriousness, Make Your Own Luck: 3 Reasons Why Hard Work Is Essential To Success
  • Enthusiasm, Get Fired Up! 3 Reasons Why Enthusiasm Will Make You A Better Coach
  • Friendship, BFF’s: Why Friendship Is Important To Your Team
  • Loyalty, 4 Sure-Fire Reasons Loyalty Is Vital To Your Team’s Success
  • Cooperation, The Coach’s Cooperation Checklist: Take These Steps To Success
  • Competitive Greatness, The 3 Principles of Competitive Greatness: How To Be Good When It Counts
  • Faith & Patience, The Ultimate Trifecta For Success: Your Team, Patience, And Faith


Now, on to self-control!

According to Wooden himself:  “Discipline of others isn’t punishment.  You discipline to help, to improve, to correct, to prevent.” So let’s look at those four areas and how we can teach our teams to have self-control…on and off the court.

  • To help. All of us want our players to be the best they can be.  In my mind, I want my players to have maxed out their potential in their four years with me.  Whatever I do in the gym is geared toward that end.
  • To improve. Building off of the previous point, we all want our players to get better.  This is the cliché answer to the student-athlete who complains that their coach is “picking on them”.  You know what I’m about to say:  when I stop correcting you, that’s when you should be worried.  Hopefully, none of us get to that point…let’s not stop helping our athletes improve.
  • To correct. This is one of the toughest things for coaches to teach and for athletes to embrace.  Correction isn’t criticism.  Even when the coach corrects their athlete on a particular skill, that coach still loves the athlete.  Too often, the athlete will make correction personal.  It’s our job as coaches to teach our athletes to separate the two.
  • To prevent. The biggest thing I want to prevent within my athletes is regret.  I don’t want them to look back and wish their athletic experience were better because of something within their control.  As coaches, we can’t force a person to give all-out effort or get after it in the weight room or make adjustments…a tough pill to swallow, but true.  We can challenge them every day on those issues in order to prevent wasting athletic talent.


Imagine how great our teams would be, and how great their experiences on our teams would be, if we took the time to teach self-control.

Join me as I embark on 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.

The Coach’s Cooperation Checklist: Take These Steps To Success

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John Wooden is a coaching rock star and legend.   So I thought, what better gift to give my readers during my blog vacation 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.

Cooperation

Most of us coaches would love to think that we are the magician’s behind the curtains of our teams…willing them to excel and exceed expectations.  But when we wake up from dreamland, we realize that we are beholden to so many groups of people that when you sit down and really think about it…success is a truly wonderful thing, a group effort, and something to be celebrated.  Now, let’s look at the:

The 6 essential pieces of cooperation

1.       Administration:  So coach, you’ve landed that sweet interview at the school of your dreams and they ask the Interview Hall Of Fame question: do you have any questions?  Well, as a matter of fact you do!  Your knowledge of your sport is only going to get you so far.  You’ll also need to know how many assistant coaches your program will be funded for, what shape your equipment is in…and if you’ve got the budget to upgrade as necessary, what the facilities (locker rooms, gyms, weight room, etc.) are like, how the travel schedule is put together and what the mode of transportation is normally.

2.       Support staff: If you think you can really succeed without the training room staff keeping your athletes in one piece, the sports information director getting the word out about how awesome your team is, and the strength and conditioning staff…well, strengthening and conditioning your team, you are living in la-la land.  Not to mention the office workers who make copies, mail letters, and make sure your credit card bill is paid on time.  They are crucial to what we do!

3.       Parents: No matter the level (youth through the collegiate ranks), parents will play a major role in our sports programs.  Whether they’re supplying orange slices, baking cookies, or making a holiday dinner for a college team that’s on the road and can’t make it home…they’re important and you’d be well served to embrace your team parents.  Additionally, building a good relationship with your parents will help when one of your players makes the inevitable grumpy call home.  The parents who feel involved and believe in you and your program will nip that in the bud.

4.       Fans: There’s no such thing as a home court advantage without them!  The ones that come to your games in body paint, or do pushups for how many points you have, or who travel all over the place just to watch you play.  Those folks are awesome and it’d probably be a good idea for your program to figure out a way to celebrate the die-hards who are always there for you.

5.       Athletes: You can know everything about your sport, but you can’t play.  Your knowledge is useless without your athletes.  They’ve got to buy-in (cooperate) to your offensive and defensive schemes, your ideas on off-season workouts, and ultimately…to you as a coach.  They’ve got to be willing to work hard every day in practice and in even harder in the classroom.  You’ve got to trust them to be good spokespeople for your program and ambassadors for your team.

6.       Coach: I haven’t forgotten about us coaches!  Our job is to be knowledgeable…that’s the way we earn the respect of our teams.  We’ve also got to be caring…once we reach that combination, that’s when our teams start running through walls for us.  We need to be able to make in-game adjustments that put our team at an advantage.  In terms of functioning within a larger group, we have to be able to manage our athletes when they’re out of our sight (in the classroom, at night when they’re out with their friends), so training up quality leaders is huge.  Finally, we’ve got to be our team’s biggest advocates.  Whether we’re fundraising or just getting the word out about good things that are happening within our programs, it’s part of the job of the head coach to get out front on these things.

As Wooden says, “in order to reach the full potential of the group, there must be cooperation at all levels.”  Hopefully you were thinking about some of the folks who help you and your team out and will thank them for their cooperation.

4 Sure-Fire Reasons Loyalty Is Vital To Your Team’s Success


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John Wooden is a coaching rock star and legend.   So I thought, what better gift to give my readers during my blog vacation 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.

Loyalty

According to the incorrect science that is Wikipedia, loyalty is faithfulness or devotion to a person, country, group, or cause.  So in this case, I think they’ve gotten it right.  When building a team, we coaches try to build a group of players who have a belief in what they don’t see…or faith as some would call it.  Faith that their hard work will pay off in the end.  Faith that all of those sprints and drills and hard practices will end with a successful season.  And without tangible evidence of that payoff, the only thing that they can hold onto is the loyalty they have to their teammates and their program…in other words, they play for each other.  Let’s look at some of the ways that loyalty will increase your team’s chances of success.

Player to player “Loyalty is a cohesive force that forges individuals into a team.” Quite simply, there can’t be a connection that’s higher than your players with one another.  Their love and loyalty toward their teammates will take them to higher and higher heights.  Loyalty will make them play defense harder, hit with more force, and serve with more accuracy because they feel like they’re part of a bigger unit.

Coach to player “Respect helps produce loyalty.” Yep, I wrote that correctly.  Coach to player respect…that’ll produce loyalty for sure.  Your players need to know that you respect their effort, their desire to be successful, and their ability to process the complexities of your sport.  Once they feel that care and respect, the loyalty they’ll feel toward you , as their coach, will be tangible.

Player to coach “Loyalty is a powerful force in producing one’s individual best and even more so in producing a team’s best.” If your team is loyal to you (after you’ve done the stuff from the point above), your collective unit can be better than it should be and go farther than others thought you could.  Why?  Because each person will work their individual hardest and that will only benefit the entire team in the long run.  They’ll go hard for you and just as important, the older players will squash any unhappy grumblings from non-starters or newbies.

All to program “How can you work to the best of your ability unless you have someone or something to whom you are loyal?” We’ve got to create a team chemistry that’s strong enough that there’s a sense of history and a sense of pride in our programs.  Your players should feel compelled to leave their mark in some positive manner through their loyalty to the continual development and betterment of your program.

It takes time and effort, but it’s worth it.  Cultivate loyalty within your teams and watch the fruits of your labor result in successful seasons.  Next up:  cooperation.

BFF’s: Why Friendship Is Important To Your Team

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John Wooden is a coaching rock star and legend.   So I thought, what better gift to give my readers during my blog vacation 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.

Friendship

One of the things that I love about Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is that he was a man coaching men.  I know that that sounds obvious, but many times, the intangibles (like friendship and getting along) are seen as “female traits” and things that only coaches of females need to be worried about.  Well, thank goodness for John Wooden (and his ten national championships in twelve years!) and his assertion that the intangibles hold no gender…that they’re equally as important to men’s teams as they are to women’s.  Now let’s look at the…

**4 ways to encourage camaraderie and friendship on your team**

1.       Forced friendliness: At the beginning of the season, when the newbies don’t really know the returners all that well, you’ve got to manufacture the friendliness…with the hope that it’ll turn into real friendship.  Whether it’s team dinners, studying together, or movie nights…you’ve got to make them hang around each other off of the court early on in the season.

2.       Upperclassmen as mentors: Some teams will match a freshman up with a senior or other upperclassmen, with the older players charged with helping the newbie navigate campus (picking classes, professors, etc.) as well as being a friendly face on campus.  This also helps break down the walls that are naturally there between the upperclassmen and the newcomers.

3.       Secret pals: This can be a weekly thing or something special your team does just around the championships.  But players pick names and secretly give small gifts to whoever they picked.  Usually it’s just a Gatorade or bag of snacks with a motivating note attached to it.  Ideally, you’ve done enough team building stuff with them that they actually know the things that their teammates like so that their gift can be truly appreciated.

4.       Captain council: Years ago, I’d read High Hopes by Gary Barnett and he talked about this idea of picking someone from each class to be a captain.  Using that model, at least everyone’s perspective gets heard by the coaching staff and hopefully they’re able to build respect for each other during the process of meeting with you as a Council.  The upside of the Captain Council is that the natural hierarchy is broken down because your freshman captain will have the same input as your senior.

Friendship on a team is a powerful motivator.  As Wooden says, “the blocks in between my two cornerstones make a strong and solid foundation because they include others and show that it takes a united effort to succeed.”  Next up:  Loyalty.

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Get Fired Up! 3 Reasons Why Enthusiasm Will Make You A Better Coach

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John Wooden is a coaching rock star and legend.   So I thought, what better gift to give my readers during my blog vacay 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.

Enthusiasm

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.

Make Your Own Luck: 3 Reasons Why Hard Work Is Essential To Success

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John Wooden is a coaching rock star and legend.   So I thought, what better gift to give my readers during my blog vacation than a series on Wooden’s Pyramid of Success?  This is the first in a series of posts that will delve into both the foundation and apex of his Pyramid.  Please join me as I examine Wooden’s thoughts on Industriousness, Enthusiasm, Friendship, Loyalty, Cooperation, Competitive Greatness, and finally, Faith & Patience.

Industriousness

What is success and how does one measure it?  Early on in my career, I read John Wooden’s book, Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court and loved it.  Oddly enough, I hadn’t heard about his Pyramid of Success at that time…and now it’s the basis of my entire coaching philosophy.  He defines success as the “peace of mind that is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”  That’s pretty awesome, huh?  My favorite aspect of that definition is that the control is in our hands…if we can say after every drill, every practice, every match, and every season that we’re satisfied with our effort, then we’ve been successful.  Let’s examine at a few different ways to look industriousness.

3 areas where industriousness is essential

Preparation: “You have to work and work hard.” As coaches, we’ve got to be the hardest workers on the court…we can’t get out-worked by our athletes.  That means practice planning has got to be on point, your scouting should leave your team feeling uber-confident, and your game plans for each opponent should be both reasonable and doable for your players.

In practice: “There is no substitute for work.” Everyone’s got to be all in about working hard.  The players can’t control their playing time, their skill ceiling, what the opponent will do…but they can control their effort level.  Some folks have been blessed with a high skill level , but low work ethic…that’s always a shame to see.  While others are stuck with a low skill level, but high work ethic…that’s also a toughie.  But when you’ve got a bunch of athletes who are able to find the sweet spot of high skill level paired with a high work ethic…good things can happen!

Off season: “A willingness to, an appetite for, hard work must be present for success.” For us coaches, we’ve got to be willing to put in the hours on the phones and in gyms in order to bring new blood to the program.  We’ve also got to put a premium on learning…from our colleagues, clinics, seminars.  Whatever it is, we owe it to ourselves and our teams to be lifelong learners about our sport.  For the players, hard work is equally important.  It could be that their hard work is in the training room doing rehab, or refocusing on their studies, or hitting it hard in the weight room.  However their hard work for the betterment of the team is defined…they’ve got to be all about it.

Since you’re the coaching nerd that I know you are, I’m sure you were already doing that stuff and demanding those things from your team.  This was just a friendly reminder that one of the cornerstones of any kind of success is hard work.