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Industriousness is one of the first blocks on the pyramid of success. Some of the most influential athletes of their time exuded greatness not simply because they were talented but because they worked harder than anybody. Derek Jeter in high school used to go home on his lunch break and practice his swings on his solo hitter. My Father would put in 100 hour work weeks because he knew that hard work would pay off for his family. “I challenge you to show me one single solitary individual who achieved his or her own personal greatness without lots of hard work” Wooden pg 176. Cal Ripken Jr. was an example in the book and I wouldn’t put him in here if I didn’t feel a personal connection to what he did. Cal Ripken broke the record for most consecutive games played. He reminded me of the most influential man in my life; my Dad. If you do not work hard you simply will not achieve greatness.
I would not be where I am today if not for my friends. Sports can establish lifelong friendships. It is the responsibility of the coach to ensure that all athletes are allowed to be themselves and work to the best of their abilities. My grandfather would often say “you can see how someone is based off the company they keep”. As I’ve grown as a person I’ve come to understand that there are people from all walks of life each having their own way. I have many friends who would give me the shirt off their back, I hope it’s because I would do the same for them.
Loyalty to me is a form of dedication. My brother served in Iraq when his tour was to be ended he signed his contract to continue, he told me “he didn’t want leave anyone behind”. They were loyal to each other. As a coach I feel it is my responsibility to care for my players to make sure they know I am loyal to them and chances are they will be loyal to me. To be loyal, is to defend in public family, friends and players even when they are wrong but to point out their faults in private.
Cooperation is listening while in communication. Be a coach that lets his players talk is a cooperative coach. I think a coach has authority but it must be earned. Communication is listening and speaking not just speaking. I remember the most cooperative coach I had in baseball always made time to listen to his athletes. As result of that our team never had any disciplinary issues. From him I learned the importance of listening to athletes.
Enthusiasm is easier for some people to exude, but I know firsthand that an excited person can inspire more than just himself. There are some people that have an exuberance about them that draws people to them. There is a man by the name of Kyle Maynard who is a congenital amputee. He was a college wrestler who wrote a book called No Excuses in it he exudes confidence and an overall appreciation for life. He expresses an enthusiasm in his detriment that really can’t be described in words. I remember tearing up watching this kid because I don’t know what I would do in his situation. He could have given up but he didn’t. As a coach exude enthusiasm, be proud of your team when they give their all.
Self Control is something I feel I have exuded in my daily life. Some of my friends have tried to fill the void in their life due to drug use. I never even had inkling to touch any kind of drug. I know that it will pay dividends for me. I know athletes can succumb to the same path some of my friends have. I as a coach have a responsibility to show self control and be honest with my athletes. Make sure they are steadfast, not to succumb to external pressures. It’s more than just saying no, it’s to be sure why you’re saying no.
Alertness is a trait on the pyramid of success that is rather new to me. To me it means being aware of your surroundings, as a coach to know you competition. It’s knowing your competition’s strengths and weaknesses. To me Bill Belicheck is very alert. He understands his competition. Although interviews appear him as a stoic individual, who never changes I believe it his alertness that makes him a great coach. He knows how to change his game plans and always be ahead of his competition. For me alertness is to look into the future to be aware of every possibility.
Initiative is a strong brick on the pyramid of success. I feel that initiative can be defined as action. Science says nothing really happens until something moves. Some of the greatest coaches had initiative. Pat Riley was able to take talented but troubled athletes and make them stars. It was due to his initiative.
Intentness is a strong aim of purpose. Anybody who ever accomplished anything had intent. In the book Law of Intention by Wayne Dyer, the author takes a spiritual approach to intent. It’s about maintaining a level of peace within yourself. It’s to be in a state of peace and to act purposeful from that state of peace.
Condition is to train your mind, to be prepared for competition. To be in good shape for performance: physically, mentally and emotionally. Superstition plays a role in this. Wade Boggs would eat Fried chicken before every game, Nomar Garciaparra used to kick his toes to the end of his shoes and pull his batting gloves to the tips of his fingers. Both Wade Boggs and Nomar Garciaparra did these things to condition their minds to be ready for competition.
Skill cannot be taught it can only be learned. It is the responsibility of the athlete through dedication to sport and putting the time in and he or she will see results. I often hear some people are natural athletes I however believe dedication leads to skill. Skill is what makes an athlete not just talent. Michael Jordan didn’t make the basketball team on his first try. One of the greatest and most talented athletes didn’t make his high school basketball team. His skill came from hard work.
Team spirit can be used interchangeably with enthusiasm. To me the captain of a team can mock what a coach can do. I remember during football there was a kid who would rile us up before a game. He exuded team spirit he knew the power of motivation and knew that would bring us together as a team.
In this day and age with snake oil salesman and corrupt politicians very seldom do we find individuals who are true to themselves and honorable. Poise is a state of balance; to act from that state balance. There is one politician who I feel expresses poise and his name is Ron Paul, a man that is facing incredible opposition from the mainstream media. He could stoop to their level but he doesn’t.
Dustin Pedroia shows confidence. Every time he gives an interview it’s easy to see he is being himself. He wants to win and it is his never quit attitude that shows his confidence. I remember my Dad telling me when I was young “remember nobody is better than you”. Roberto Clemente said “To me I’m the best”. It’s not necessarily about comparing yourself to other people; it’s about having a strong sense of self worth.
Competitive greatness is another trait Dustin Pedroia has. Here is a dude who can’t be more than 5’6 but he wants to win. He feeds off his competition. If you’re competitively great it doesn’t mean you’re not nervous it simply means you feed off the pressure. To me competitive greatness can also be called “the zone”. The zone is a place within you and the only thing that matters is winning.
Faith is something that hits home. Not so much from a religious standpoint but on a personal level. I know that as a coach if you have faith in your athletes they will have faith in you. There have been events in my life that have challenged my belief in self and life in general but as I look back I realize it all works out. The yin and yang of eastern medicine is a good analogy. Positive and negative things occur but both bring you to a sense of balance. Understanding that nothing can take one away from the yin and yang order of the universe is being faithful.
Patience is something I learned from my Grandma. Here is a woman who I can say wholeheartedly is one of the sweetest people in the world. She has raised great people in this world but she has done it through incredible patience. As a coach it may be expressed in the way you respond to an athlete who finds the sport challenging. If your patient and give him or her encouragement they will see improvement.
As I read through the Pyramid Of Success by John Wooden I couldn't help but realize many of the blocks were traits that were taught to me from figures in my life. Don’t get me wrong I know everybody to have their own issues at times but that doesn't put any less power in the words I've been told. I've always learned more from how somebody acts, not what they say and I can wholeheartedly say these traits have made me a better person.
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