Terrific coaches must be consistent. This includes consistent effort, message, and motivation. In order to do this coaches must be mentally tough, establish trust, and be dependable. Another obvious thing that must be consistent or improving is winning percentage. A president of a university was talking highly of a basketball coach at a banquet. The coach asked, “Would you still like me as much if we didn’t win?” The president responded, “I’d like you as much. I’d just miss having you around.”
Consistent excellence is not an easy task to do over a lifetime. NBA hall of famer and former coach Jerrry West has said, “You can’t get too much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.” Coaches know that if they are to expect consistency out of their players, then they must model this as well.
Author Bob Conklin has a poem that relates heavily to how we can be consistent.
I can make you rise or fall.
I can work for you or against you.
I can make you a success or a failure.
I control the way that you feel and the way that you act.
I can make you laugh…work…love.
I can make your heart sing with joy…excitement…elation.
Or I can make you wretched…dejected…morbid.
I can make you sick…listless.
I can be as a shackle…heavy…attached…burdensome.
Or I can be as the prism’s hue…dancing…bright…fleet…lost forever unless captured by pen or purpose.
I can be nurtured and grown to be great and beautiful…seen by the eyes of others through action in you. I can never be removed…only replaced.
I am a THOUGHT.
Why not know me better?
Our thoughts can greatly influence our actions and everyday decision-making. It is important that our thoughts are influenced and focused on the greatest coach the world has known, God. By focusing on God’s Word we will have the right approach for each day as Paul states in Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Sports psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella consistently has helped to develop champions. He has worked with winners of 84 major golf championships, Olympic gold medalists, NCAA champions in multiple sports, and tennis tournament champions. He helps people to see how much their thoughts can affect their life. He states, “I’m always telling people that I don’t care what their families or their schools or their communities said or thought about them. I tell them, ‘You’re an adult now, and you get to decide.’ So what’s the decision going to be? You get to write your life story. Will you be heroic or just someone trying to get by? Will you be the star or someone sitting on the end of the bench?”
His philosophy is that if someone consistently puts in effort and finishes in the middle of the pack, he or she can still be content. This is because they spent the time and talent that God gave them, finding out how good they could get. This should be our goal as well. To consistently do our best with the time and talents that God has given us. We don’t always have to win in sports or in life, but with God on our side we are already victors because Christ has defeated death and the devil and given us the free gift of eternal life in heaven! It is this Good News that can be our focus and guide our thoughts.
-Conklin, B. (1963). The Dynamics of Successful Attitudes. New York: Prentice-Hall.
-Rotella, B. (2015). How champions think. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Stohlmann, M. (2016). The world's greatest coach. Seattle, WA: CreateSpace.
Christian, author, and professor of mathematics education.