There is a quote that I have long lived by. It’s John Wooden’s personal philosophy on motivation.
“Success is the peace of mind which is a direct result of the self-satisfaction in knowing that you have made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”
There is so much truth to that: the self-satisfaction, for nothing more than seeing your own improvement, the knowing that you gave everything you had, and the peace of mind that you had nothing left in the end. I often see players who doubt and question themselves. This usually is a byproduct of not emptying the tank, of having regrets when it is all said and done. The focus of process vs. outcome is very much alive and very strongly routed in Wooden’s principles of success, in his pyramid and his books.
So how can our athletes never take the long walk of regret off the field? How do we create a culture of giving 100%, knowing that if they do, it will be enough, win or lose. We go back to the CTCs and the right focus on the right things. If we work on what we can control, the rest will take care of itself.
I think so often character, the first C in my Five C’s of a Mental Game Warrior program, is what sets the tone for work ethic. Being the right person, on and off the field. Doing the right thing at practice, always wanting to get better than you were yesterday.
I love watching my team practice when they are stuck in the fieldhouse, sharing the space with the baseball team, in less than ideal conditions. I like the intestinal fortitude I see when they are pushing the line of peak performance and fatigue. I have really bought into John Wooden’s philosophy of getting to know my players. Every one of them is different, every one of them have a different level at which they find optimal performance. The key word is awareness. Hitting the top of the mountain is great, but consistently being able to find it when it counts is priceless. We strive for that moment as coaches, when the athlete becomes aware of just how far they can go. It’s the greatest reward to see it pay off.
In asking our athletes if they are “All in,” they are often reminded that there is no other way but giving all of themselves, mentally, emotionally and physically. 100% of what they have is always required. And just when they think they can’t give anymore, they remind themselves of the “One more” philosophy. TS Eliot once said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” The ability to push from the bottom up, to help every athlete in our program find the line for themselves, makes the path easier for them to walk down.
Limitations can be blinding. The “Law of the Lid,” as explained in John C. Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, states that a group will never go beyond its leader. It will never break free from the lid until someone pushes the bar higher. This includes coaches, our captains and team leaders whom everyone else follows. We all know who they are. When they take one more cut, throw one more pitch, do one more lap, push out one more sprint, collapse after one more push-up, the others will follow. Energy is contagious. Both good and bad. When doing “one more” is a way of the program, the energy becomes brilliant and strong.
So how does your team define success? Is it the numbers in the stats column? Is it the mastering new pitches or getting all their bunts down? Or could it possibly start with character? With being the right people in the eyes of those around them? Give me the player willing to do one more any day and I will take them over the talent that is afraid to work hard. Give me the player who wants to be better than yesterday, regardless of sacrifice over the one who reminds us that practice is almost over. But most importantly, when we have a team of players who know that success is defined by the character they bring to practice, by the mentality of excellence, by the work ethic that can’t be challenged by anyone but themselves, we will find success is more than wins and losses.
One more. Always, one more.
|[Jen Croneberger]: Jen Croneberger is currently the president of JLynne Consulting Group, LLC. and has held numerous coaching positions, including the head coach at Unionville High School, assistant and head coach at Ursinus College and the Mental Game Coach for the (NPF’s), Philadelphia Force. Jen has also worked with big Division 1 programs as well as some of the top travel teams. She serves as the Education and Publications Committee Chair for the NFCA. She was selected by the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry as the 2009 Female Business Leader of the Year. Jen writes The Five Words Blog, and her latest project is her book: ”These Five Words Are Mine,”|
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