After writing for two years straight, I think it’s time for a blog vacation! But never fear, dear reader, I won’t leave you alone during my vacay. Please enjoy some of my oldies (but goodies!) about something near and dear to my heart: The Pyramid of Success.
“If you’re afraid of failure, you will never do the things you are capable of doing.”—John Wooden
I sometimes wonder if we’re creating a generation of young people who have never had to deal with failure. They play age group sports where the score isn’t kept, or if it is, they all get participation trophies or ribbons. As a consequence, they don’t have to capability to navigate the emotions that failure brings, they don’t have the self-awareness that failure brings, and they most certainly don’t get the correction that failure brings. As you can imagine, I believe that sport is a great teacher of all of those lessons and more. In order to reach the pinnacle of the Pyramid (competitive greatness), a measure of initiative will be required…check out these three reasons why!
3 ways that having initiative will make your athletes courageous
They will have the courage to make decisions.
You’ve seen it. I’ve seen it. We’ve all seen it. The athlete that looks at the bench constantly to check in with the coach. They do something awesome…they check with coach. They do something awful…they check with coach. They are so unsure on their own two feet that they need constant reinforcement. Not only is that player probably annoying to their coach, they’re suffering from a severe case of fear. That player is afraid their coach isn’t happy with their performance. With some time in the gym and some leeway to stretch their wings, that player can learn the type of initiative that’s necessary to make game time decisions that they’ll know their coach will be proud of…without checking the bench every two seconds!
They will have the courage to take action.
Say you’ve got captains. And say they see some of their teammates doing things off of the court that are detrimental to their on-the-court performance. It doesn’t even have to be something clearly wrong (and illegal) like underage drinking or doing drugs. What will your captains do when they see their teammates lying to you about doing their weight room workouts? Or when they hear that their teammates are playing another sport during the season and risking injury? Well, if you’ve trained them well, they will take action. They will talk to their teammate and hopefully squash it before you even know about the problem.
They will have the courage to push their limits.
What if I fail? That’s a question that all of us ask ourselves at some point in time. Folks with initiative push through that uneasy feeling. Every year during our first practice of the season, I tell my team to let go of any aspirations of perfection. I tell them that they’re going to make mistakes…sometimes really big ones. And that sometimes those mistakes will come at crucial times and they’ll be so disappointed with themselves. Then I reassure them that no one expects anything from them except their personal best…and the only way to get to their personal best is to test themselves. Then I tell them that “testing yourself” is coach-speak for making mistakes and pushing their limits. I want my team to have the courage to see just how good they can be…don’t you?
Let’s all agree to teach our teams about the antidote to fear: initiative.
Join me in a series discussing John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. I believe his Pyramid can be applied to our teams, our recruiting efforts, how we behave as professionals, and to our lives in general. This series will cover Self-Control, Alertness, Initiative, Intentness, Condition, Skill, Team Spirit, Poise, and Confidence.