This is our second in a series of articles expanding on our tip sheet: Seven Characteristics of a Character-Building Coach.
Great coaches insist on an uncompromising commitment to honesty from their athletes, their parents, and their coaching staff. The expectation is set from day one and made clear that there is zero tolerance for lies, deception, or cheating.
While many coaches build their teams and programs on a foundation of dishonesty: illegal recruiting, cheating, promised playing time and fringe benefits, financial rewards and a trail of lies–this does not help build strong athletes of character on or beyond the playing field.
No legacy is so rich as Honesty. ~ William Shakespeare
Trust is vital in building relationships that are long lasting and successful. If coaches and leaders can’t be trusted, neither can their athletes. Cutting corners for the sake of winning is not only cheating, but morally wrong and a detriment to society as a whole.
In all ranks of sport there is a battle to get the biggest, fastest and strongest athletes to help teams/programs win. Rather than develop players though skill and strength programs built on hard work and integrity, many coaches want instant success–which is not realistic or sustainable in the world outside of athletics.
Many times this success is reached through violation of rules and ethics and sends the message that transferring schools or teams or using a relative’s address to gain access to schools and is legal and an honest way to succeed. What are we really teaching kids and families when this is allowed?
While cutting corners may give temporary success, this will be short lived compared to the schools, programs and coaches that focus on the process. Cheating coaches are not developing leaders, they are developing complainers that also thrive on instant success.
What goes around comes around and dishonest coaches, only focused on winning, are creating a quick fix society:
- Not getting playing time–TRANSFER
- Not getting the headlines–TRANSFER
- Not getting enough touches–TRANSFER
Let’s teach kids to work through adversity, persevere with hard work and accomplish goals with sweat and effort.
Focus on the Process
Successful coaches do not focus on winning and losing, but rather on the process to get there and do it with honor to build athletes of character.
Successful coaches leave positive legacies, adored by the public because of the process they use to not only build successful athletes, but also successful members of society that go out and leave their own legacy.
Follow these 3 simple truths and success will follow:
1) Preparation- Spend time on the details. Relentlessly work on the little things that over time will compound into skill and mental mastery. Intense preparation done before the game or match will be the biggest factor in the outcome.
The game is won or lost 6 months before it’s played ~ Steve Brown
2) Don’t focus on the outcome- If we teach athletes to focus solely on winning or losing, losing will most likely be the outcome. Rather, have them focus on the little things and visualize what needs to be done to win a single point, score a single basket, get a single tackle or score a single goal. A combination of small victories occurring over the course of an entire game/match will lead to great results.
3) Give your best 100% of the time- This is the one thing that can be controlled. Focus on your effort and don’t waste time worrying about those things that are out of your control. Athletes and coaches often time waste so much energy on lousy calls by referees, missed infractions or mistakes that are not reversible. Focusing on such things that are beyond control distract from overall performance.
Combine preparation, focusing on the details rather than the outcome and giving 100% effort and success will follow. Setting this foundation based on effort and honesty will pay dividends for years both on and off the court.