“I want winners!” –Mike Singletary, former Head Football Coach, San Francisco 49ers
Recruiting is any team’s lifeblood. You need new people for different ways of looking at things, different skill sets, and to take your team to the next level. Beyond the measurables, what makes one player a winner and another fall short? If I knew the definitive answer to that one, I could retire in the south of France! I’m sure most coaches and leaders believe that there’s more than just skill that contribute to making someone a winner. Let’s use the book Values Of The Game by Bill Bradley to help shed some light on the intangibles that separate those who are just highly skilled from those who carry the qualities of a winner.
1. Passion: A winner loves to play and they have fun playing, they’re what some coaches call gym rats. No one to play with? They’ll play alone…the opportunity of playing the sport brings them joy.
2. Discipline: Winners follow the game plan. Think about the running back that has to patiently wait for the offensive line to open up a hole…that’s discipline. Winners understand that they need to not only discipline their bodies through practice, they also know that their minds need to be reined in through that same practice.
3. Selflessness: Winners know their role on the team and are inwardly and outwardly happy with it. You won’t find them grumbling in the background or trying to get others to be disgruntled with them, they put the team first. If you’ve got a team full of folks willing to sacrifice personal glory for the good of the team, then you’re well on your way to a close-knit team and a team of winners.
4. Respect: Winners respect their coaches, their teammates, the department’s support staff, the officials. Beyond that, winners are students of the game. They love watching video, studying up on the next opponent, and working on any weaknesses within their own game.
5. Perspective: Winners know two very important things. They know that they need to practice…no matter how good they are and they know that they need their teammates…no matter how good they are.
6. Courage: Winners have the courage to give 100% for their team, to risk failing or falling short. They courageously play through the times when their game is “off”, because they know that the team is counting on them. Winners are willing to take chances.
7. Leadership: A winner knows that it’s their job to get their teammates to truly believe in their team goals. Beyond that, they’re usually your most prepared players…for preseason, for practices, and for games. Finally, and most importantly, winners are respected by their teammates…after all, can you really be a leader if no one follows?
8. Responsibility: Winners know that they owe it to their team to complete their off-season workouts, to follow the rules, and to be a friend…not just a teammate. They also understand that it’s their responsibility to stay mentally and physically focused at practice.
9. Resilience: Defeat, bad games…winners know how to let those go. As a matter of fact, the game right after their disappointing performance is likely to be one of their best. Winners know how to bounce back.
10. Imagination: Winners are winners in their minds way before they win on the court. They visualize their success and then go about the hard work of making it happen. Winners imagine themselves as great.
There you go coaches…now go out and find some winners! (Click here if you want to recognize a loser when you see one!)
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