“I want winners!” Mike Singletary, Head Football coach, San Francisco 49ers
Recruitment is the lifeblood of any team. To take your team to new heights, you need people with different perspectives and different skills. What are the key factors that make one player a winner, and another one a loser? If I had the answer, I would be able to retire in the south of France. Most coaches and leaders agree that it’s not just the ability to win that makes someone a winner. Let’s look at the book Values Of The Game, by Bill Bradley, to see what intangibles distinguish those who are highly skilled from those who possess the qualities that make a winner.
The winner is someone who loves to play, and has fun doing it. Some coaches refer to them as gym rats. Who is there to share the game with? They will play by themselves…the sport gives them joy.
The game plan is followed by the winners. You can think of the running back who must wait patiently for the offensive line’s opening to make a hole. That’s discipline. Winners know they must discipline their bodies with practice and that the same practice can also help to rein in their minds.
Winners are aware of their roles in the team and are both internally and externally happy about it. They won’t be grumbling or trying to get people to disapprove of them. Instead, they will put the team first. You can build a strong team if you have people who are willing to give up their personal glory to help the team.
Winners are respectful of their coaches, their team, their colleagues, the support staff and the officials. Winners are also avid students of the game. They enjoy watching video and learning about the next opponent.
Two very important things are known by winners. They understand the importance of practicing, no matter how skilled they may be. And they also know they need their teammates, no matter how talented they might be.
Winners are able to give 100% to their team and risk failure or falling short. Because they know their team depends on them, they are able to bravely persevere through times of “off”. Winners are open to taking chances.
The winner understands that their job is to inspire their team to believe in the goals they have set for themselves. They are also your best players for preseason, practices, and games. Last but not least, winners are respected and admired by their teammates. After all, how can you be a leader if everyone follows you?
Winners understand that they owe their team the ability to do their off-season training, to follow the rules and to be friends, not just teammates. They also know that they have to be mentally and physically sharp at practice.
Losses, bad games…winners can let them go. In fact, their next game after a disappointing performance is most likely to be their best. Winners know how they bounce back.
Winners can imagine themselves as winners before they actually win on the court. They imagine their success, then work hard to make it happen. Winners see themselves as great.
You’re now coaches! Now go find some winners!