“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
- George Bernard Shaw
- Irish playwright and co-founder of London School of Economics
Finding and defining success is an important concept that athletes, coaches, and parents must comprehend in order to experience the fulfillment of participating in sport. Some of my favorite definitions follow:
“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
- John Wooden
- Named by ESPN as Greatest Coach of the 20th Century
“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting; in the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard, reaching for the highest that is in us, becoming all that we can be.”
- Zig Ziglar
- Motivational Speaker and Author
“I would define success as doing the absolute best that you capable of doing. That’s not the same as winning every game – it’s being as good as you could possibly be.”
- Tony Dungy
- Successful Speaker, Writer, and Football Coach
Properly defining success ensures the phenomenon of progress, motivation, and the development of passion for the activity. The athlete, coach, and parent that work together to make certain a realistic expectation for success is presented and followed during all athletic experiences creates a culture of success. Specific examples of defining success could be:
Athlete: Make a 100% effort to do my best everytime I am involved with the activity.
Coach: Provide each child an opportunity for development independent of the game score or situation.
Parent: Support my child by promoting an environment of fun and development and allowing the coaches to handle all critical feedback.
If success is defined in an unattainable manner, disappointment, frustration, and disenchantment for the athlete, coach, and parent are sure to follow. Over time success defined improperly leads to athletes dropping out of sport participation.
As I attend various soccer games and tournaments around the Southeastern United States, improperly defining success is one of the worst aspects of youth soccer. Many players, parents, and coaches define success as winning with no room for development. These actions are witnessed by coaches who scream incessantly at the referee instead of coaching their players, parents who attempt to coach their child and other participants from the parent sideline, and players who do not provide a full effort in training but expect their skills to appear in games. Success must be defined and verbalized to participants and parents by all coaches so that skill and knowledge development is the reason for participation. The following statement is not good enough if we want competent members of society to develop:
If winning is success, 50% of all participants will leave the game not fully understanding the process to become successful and the other 50% will be unsure how to replicate the process they used to gain success.
EducatedCoaches.com will persist in attempting to adapt the sports world to our thoughts and promote progress. Defining success in terms that athletes and parents can understand is a reality that must happen to create the culture of success that all organizations claim to desire. My only hope is that leadership in these organizations can see past wins, losses, and the all mighty dollar in creating opportunities for the development of healthy, adjusted, successful members of society.
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