On The Myth Of Instant Success


“Remarkable careers take a remarkably large amount of training.”

When I saw the title of this article over at Study Hacks, I thought it could stand on its own as significant:  On the Remarkably Long Road to the Remarkable.  Isn’t that true?  We want our athletes and our teams to experience success at a high level, yet it never happens when we think it should.

A few years ago, I had a team that was tremendously talented and they dominated our conference all season only to fall in the championship game to a team they were better than.  It wasn’t their time.  On paper, this team was better than the team which went on to capture the championship the next year.  It was their time…though I don’t know if they’d ever won it all without experiencing the disappointment of losing the year before.  Being remarkable takes time and we’ve got to teach our players to embrace the struggle.

3 ways to teach patience in our players

  1. Set realistic and attainable goals.  If our players’ only goal is to win a national championship, they will experience a lot of disappointment.  They should set some stair step goals that will get them closer to their mission.
  2. Set “reach” goals.  Though every goal they set can’t be easily reached…that wouldn’t be much of a goal.  Their reach goals should require a good bit of time to reach, maybe even more than one season.
  3. Revisit and reassess goals.  Oftentimes, teams will set goals at the beginning of the season and never look at them again.  If their goals don’t drive them to achieve each and every day, they aren’t effective goals.  Players should look at their goals once a week and see where they are and what they need to change about their effort to achieve them.
  4. Constantly evaluate performance.  This one goes along with number three.  Questions they should ask themselves: Am I working hard in every drill?  Am I trying to get better every day?  Am I challenging myself to improve weaknesses?  Do I work to improve my strengths?  Am I a valuable member of this team?  Why?
  5. Celebrate successes along the way.  Like I said at the beginning, if our teams only have one big, huge, gigantic goal…their success is going to be limited.  If we are to believe that becoming a remarkable player and team takes time, we should celebrate when we take a step forward, right?  I know we’re all super-focused grinders, but a little pat on the back should be allowed.

For those of us who have ever fallen short and been disappointed, I truly believe it’s that very disappointment which fuels our desire to continually strive for that elusive goal.  It’s hard for us as coaches, because we want success so badly for our players.  It comes in its own time, though, and when the team is ready and has prepared for it.