// you’re reading...

Deliberate Practice

Building Toughness

What are your standards?

Jay Bilas, ESPN basketball commentator, raised the question yesterday in an energetic talk at the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association coaches clinic in Des Moines.

Bilas said he has visited several college practices recently, and the common theme is work hard and compete. Trouble is, most athletes don’t even know what that means. Some think that working hard means working up a sweat. Others believe it means doing things quickly.

But it’s not. Anyone can do those things. It takes a special person or team to ask the question: What are we absolutely going to insist on? What habits, behaviors, and performance level must we have? How are we going to communicate with each other, and how are we going to make ourselves accountable?

“Too many people try to get THROUGH practice,” Bilas said. “Not enough people try to get FROM practice.”

“You are what you emphasize,” Bilas said.

Everyone can choose a standard. One player, for instance, might say, “I want to lead the league in rebounding.” Another might say, “I never want to have a bad practice.”

No matter what standard you choose, you must live up to it. That’s the difference between winning traditions and also-ran traditions.

Bilas, author of an acclaimed article on real toughness in basketball, summed it up by saying, “Toughness is mental, toughness is being accountable.”


No comments for “Building Toughness”

Post a comment