The Best of Coaches – Bring out the Best in their Teams

Here Comes March Madness! The Mens and Womens NCAA Basketball Tournament

Today, the brackets for the NCAA Basketball Tournament are being announced….and everyone has dreams of winning. In my opinion, no sporting event on planet earth brings out the best in coaches like the road to the National Championship.

John Wooden, unprecedented winner of 10 straight NCAA Championships while coaching at UCLA, once said; “Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.” I’ve heard this quote in circumstances that questioned a bad break like that of the diagnoses of an unwanted affliction. Yet no better quote addresses the advantage of those given the opportunity to make the best of their success.

Will they revel in making the show?  Absolutely!   But the real question will reveal itself in how each coach prepares their team for the tournament itself and the fabulous competition they will see.

Chris Charmichael, Lance Armstrong’s famed coach – stressed that Lance race his strengths, but train his weaknesses.  His training for the Tour began many months before the first gun went off, and his mileage in the Pyrenees mountains is legendary.  But what are lessons for these coaches as they enter the post season?

The Best Coaches are those who bring out the best in their players at crunch time….and this tournament levels the playing field like no other in sport.  Those who are best at focusing on the “process” have the advantage. They will practice with purpose, focus productively in their preparation and prepare themselves to incrementally improve their ability to neutralize the strengths of their opponent, one game at a time.  Those who play every second of every minute of every game…emphasizing their strengths – while purposely strengthening their weaknesses – these are the coaches and the team’s who will succeed.  Whether they win the tournament or not, they will have “realized” success in performing to their very best.

And when all is said and done – they will remember the “process” of their preparation and their play…all along their road to success.  For some that lesson will last a lifetime, and provide the seed for never-ending confidence and many more successes in life.

by Stephen E. Walker, PhD, CC-AASP

To learn more about the importance of “process” vs “outcome” goal setting….read on. The examples will be seen as this tournament unfolds.

8 thoughts on “The Best of Coaches – Bring out the Best in their Teams

  • March 16, 2009 at 10:54 am

    As great as he was, Coach Wooden did NOT win 10 consecutive national championships. UCLA won 10 times in 12 years between 1964 and 1975, skipping 1966 and shockingly 1974.

  • March 29, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Thanks Larry,
    I stand corrected. I think the main point of illustrating greatness still stands. Its such a phenomenal feat – and as an afficionado of sport – this tournament stands out to me as perhaps the most fabulous sporting exhibition alive. Thanks for reading Podium.

  • May 12, 2009 at 7:22 am

    Nice post. There’s a similar topic thats related to this in Yahoo answers or Google groups, I think. I’ll find the link and post it back here.

  • May 16, 2009 at 1:17 pm

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  • May 23, 2009 at 10:11 am

    This is an excellent article! I hope to check back for more


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