Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Be Committed


Being committed to your profession encompasses many different elements. PUNCTUALITY, PREPARATIONSELF-DISCIPLINE, INTENSE FOCUSVIGOROUS EFFORT, STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT, ONGOING LEARNING, PERSEVERANCE, and RESILIENCY all define being committed at the elite level of sport. As an elite sport leader, a commitment entails loyalty to the players you lead and to the organization that hired you.


Being on time is an important aspect of leadership and commitment. Also, managing your time efficiently is key to becoming a better leader. There will be a variety of tasks to focus on. Head coaches have various job specific tasks as well as administrative duties. A leader must lead by example. If you expect your players to be on time to practices/games, it is important to practice what you preach. Being on time will set the tone for what you expect from your players. Managing your time efficiently will profoundly impact the team in ways they don’t even realize.


John Wooden once said, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” An elite sport leader must be prepared as well as prepare his or her players both mentally and physically for the competition. The players are counting on the coach for insight and answers. It is a coach’s responsibility to put in hours of time putting together a game-plan to  help put the players in a position to be most successful. It is an administrator’s responsibility to make sure the team is ready for the draft. A leader must come to work ready to communicate strategies and ideas to his or her team. Preparation encompasses intense focus and vigorous effort. Planning for contingencies is also important because sports can be unpredictable. Change favors the prepared mind. Preparation is the groundwork for magic to happen. Preparation builds confidence.


There is a difference between discipline and self-discipline. Discipline is listening to what people tell you to do, where to be, how to do something. Self-discipline is knowing that you are responsible for everything that happens in your life. You are the only one who can elevate your performance to a high level.


If you are going to hold your players to a certain standard, you must be willing to pay the price yourself. Holding a leadership position at the collegiate, amateur, or professional levels of sport can be overwhelming and a grind. It will be extremely difficult to find time outside your job for yourself. Without hard work, you don’t stand a chance.


Focus is effort, but concentrated effort applied to the particular task you are trying to accomplish. At the elite level of sport, it is very common to put in countless hours studying film, developing practice and game plans, and doing your part in improving an organization. However, your focus during those tasks will make the best use of your time. Concentrate on one step at a time. Focus on the process, not the destination. Visualization, relaxation techniques, and distraction control are all forms of mental skills training and improving your focus.

It is of the utmost importance to focus on what is in your control. There will be unpredictable circumstances and adverse situations. That is a part of the process. However, we cannot afford to worry about factors out of our control. That is where faith plays a role. If you prepare and address the factors you have control over, you will put yourself in a better position to succeed.


In life, you never should stop growing. Many great leaders are constantly studying to improve in weak areas. The more intuitive you are the most inclined you are to implement new strategies. John Wooden, who was voted Coach of the Century, was a diligent learner as well as a teacher. During UCLA’s championship run, Wooden would often spend his summers learning about a topic of interest, typically an area his team could improve. Ongoing learning means reading autobiographies on successful people in your profession. It is also finding mentors and opening your mind to new ideas and strategies.


Effective leaders persevere through adverse conditions. They are persistent and don’t take no for an answer. No matter how difficult your job gets, remember your dreams and push yourself to the limit.


Job security at this level is limited. Elite sports are highly pressured situations where turnover happens often. There are a variety of factors that influence success at the elite sport level. The infrastructure above you, the personnel you inherit, and the different day-to-day circumstances that come with positions of leadership. It is important to respond and not react to these situations. How you respond to adverse conditions is the measure of an effective leader.