developing CHAMPIONSHIP teams
The following is an excerpt from my book Coaching Champions For Life:
When things do not go well for your team, look first in the mirror with honest intent.
The formula for winning championships is really no secret.
If the quality of the competition is high, winning championships is not easy, but how to do it is no secret. In baseball, an age-old saying is that pitching and defense win championships. Yes, okay, if everyone knows that, why are some coaches more successful at consistently winning than others?
Characteristics of Championship Teams
First, while I will not spend a lot of time discussing them, a few coaching axioms need to be acknowledged. God has given some athletes more physical tools and potential than other athletes. However, if you spend enough time coaching, you will see many more instances of teams with lesser talent winning championships and players with lesser ability excelling at the highest levels than players and teams with exceptional talent maximizing their potential.
In the previous chapters I discussed why this is true from a team perspective. Championship teams have an exceptional commitment to getting better every day through “perfect practice”. This same standard carries over to other sports they play and to all other areas of their life. Championship teams spend more time on more days over a longer period of time mastering the fundamentals, particularly on defense.
Championship teams are mentally tougher, have more “heart”, and have a better “team chemistry” than their competition. As a result, they are able to perform at their best even under great pressure because to them it feels like just another game. Much of this “mental toughness” is determined by how much adversity they have been required to overcome in other areas of their life, particularly by how high “the bar has been raised” by their parents, their teachers, and by coaches in other sports. So what can you do to get the best out of the athletes you coach?
Why are some coaches able to get their athletes to perform at a higher level when those athletes are doing the same fundamentals as their competitors are doing?
You hear coaches comment all the time that some athletes are just “more coachable” than others. This is just another way of saying that the key to teaching is giving the right athlete, i.e., one with the requisite skill level, the right information, at the right time, by the right person, and in the right way.
Let’s break this down, component by component, so you are clear about what I am saying and why some coaches maximize the potential of their athletes while others do not.