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How to Win

Training Toughness

“No pressure, no diamonds.” ~ Mary Case

A few days ago, Kobe Bryant was discussing his team’s situation after it lost Game 1 of its playoff series against Houston.

“To win a championship, you’re going to have to face some adversity,” said the Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar, shrugging off the results of the first game.

Bryant, of course, is right. And we know that he is right. There are no shortcuts to championships.

But on another level, deep down inside, this lesson has not yet sunk in. We still think that somehow everything is going to go well.

It doesn’t work that way. Never will. So players, coaches and athletes must develop the toughness necessary to meet the adversity that inevitably will arrive.


Every practice brings a chance to become tougher.

Perhaps the toughness will grow in relentless competition, the kind used so effectively by North Carolina soccer coach Anson Dorrance.

Perhaps it will grow through milestones like the ones that legendary quarterback Sammy Baugh pursued. Baugh forced himself (and his receivers) to complete a certain number of passes before they could go home every day.

Whatever the method, the toughness must grow, because it will be needed somewhere along the way.


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