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How to Win

What Real Leadership Is About

Lately I’ve been hearing voices. No, not those kinds of voices (though you can never rule anything out).

Instead, these voices are calling me to become a better coach, by truly serving those whom I lead and by approaching my work with the proper consciousness.

The voices began calling last October, when I read an article by Loyola-Marymount volleyball coach Tom Black. It spoke of ways to stay positive through the ups and downs of coaching, and made three points.

First, There is no bigger role for me as a coach and a teacher than teaching my players how to learn.

Second, we are a part of something bigger.

Third, we are happy when we are growing.

If you can keep those three thoughts in mind, no matter whether you’re winning or losing, you have a chance to be a successful leader and a successful human being. It was a profound message that I wished I’d received BEFORE my season.

But the voices didn’t stop there. I heard another one last month when I attended a track and field clinic in Chicago. There I met a coach who is exploring the spiritual side of coaching. Not the religious side. The spiritual side, the side that understands your impact on those whom you lead.

Then just the other day, while watching a sports event, I learned that one of the athletes on the floor was going through severe problems at home. It troubled and humbled me, making me wonder what it would be like for her to play on my team. Would my court would give her the fun and satisfaction to let her escape other realities?

Yesterday brought another voice. It came in the form of this article by Tony Schwartz, who takes a hard look at what really matters in his life.

I’m not sure how long I’ll be hearing the voices, but so far they’ve helped me in my life passion. A lot goes into coaching: motivation, practice planning, X’s and O’s. But these voices are reminding me that it’s not about evaluation. It’s about inspiration.

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TotalGamePlan offers Winner’s Workshops for schools, sports teams and businesses. The emphasis is on motivation, skill-building and teamwork. To bring a Winner’s Workshop to your group, just email coachtully@totalgameplan.com or call (973) 800-5836. To order a copy of “Ten Things Great Coaches Know,” click here.


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