// you’re reading...

How to Win

Lessons from a Legend

Like the rest of us, Pat Summitt, legendary coach of the Tennessee women’s basketball team, finds lessons everywhere.

She recently ran into one in her own life. As she mentions in this video clip, Summitt came home one day to find her son had been cut from his basketball team.

He was in tears.

Summitt’s response carries a message for coaches, for athletes and for the parents all of all student-athletes, especially now, when tryouts for fall sports are under way or coming soon.

To her son, she offered this statement/question: “You didn’t work hard enough, did you?” He admitted he had not. There were two basketballs in his room. Summitt told her son, “Wear out these basketballs, and the next time you won’t have to worry about making the team.”

So her message to her son was simple. Work hard. And sports parents can find a moral there, too. Get your children to make a connection between the work that they do and the results that they get. Don’t make excuses for them.

Finally, there is the message for all coaches. Summitt half-jokingly wonders which coach in her part of the world would dare to cut HER son! And in watching this video, I would like to know, too. Because if that’s what the coach thought was right, then that’s what the coach should do!

Summitt herself has said that anyone who is not prepared to make the tough decisions should not be coaching. And there are always tough decisions in coaching: Who makes the team? Who plays on the varsity? Who plays where? How much?

Coaches must be prepared to make these decisions, even if they involve Pat Summitt’s son, or the headmaster’s child, or the daughter of the family that just offered to donate a new wing.


One comment for “Lessons from a Legend”

  1. Great story, Coach Tully
    many of us parents are afraid to step up and do what Coach Summitt did and that is take the tough stand of requiring more from their kids and instead making excuse readily available for them

    Posted by kevin reilly | August 10, 2009, 5:54 pm

Post a comment