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How to Win

Working With Joy

“Winning is important to me, but what brings me real joy is the experience of being fully engaged in whatever I’m doing.” –– Phil Jackson

Did you ever see the movie “Big,” starring Tom Hanks?

It’s the story of a 12-year-old boy who magically gets the body of a grown man. He goes to the big city and finds success at a toy company.

Coaches and athletes can learn from this movie because, among other things, it is about joy.

While others in the toy company are concentrating on reports and office politics, the Tom Hanks character is focusing on the toys and whether or not they are fun. His joy at playing earns him the admiration of the boss.

If only coaches and athletes could approach sports with the same joy. Instead, they go about their work with grimness.

On tryout day, for instance, athletes worry so much about what the coach thinks that they can’t have fun. As for coaches, they can become so focused on the outcome of games that they forget to teach.

Competition is good. Lofty goals are, too. But when the competition and the goals become a burden instead of a joy, it’s time to take another look at things.

Remember the two words that the umpire says before every baseball game: Play ball!

It’s about play, even at the major-league levels.

Hall of Fame baseball player Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs was known as “Mr. Sunshine” for his pleasant disposition. His catch phrase “Let’s play two,” reflected a love of the game so strong that he wished he could play two games, and not just one, every day.

When it comes to your sport, do you say, “Let’s play two?”


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