Dabo Swinney is an unlikely character to lead an unlikely team to the top of a dog-eat-dog sport. On January 12, 2017 he led the Clemson Tigers to their second Football School (FBS) National Championship game in as many years. This time Clemson came away the victor in a rematch for the ages against the powerhouse Alabama Crimson Tide. Underneath the underdog story and never say die attitude there is much we can learn from Tiger’s head coach Dabo Swinney.
Vince Lombardi said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” It seems perfection is a double edge sword. It can inspire and paralyze. The pursuit of it can raise the level of an athlete’s performance. Or it can cripple her with fear and anxiety. With such risks and rewards, should coaches stop demanding perfection from their players altogether?
At this time of year we tend to look back and review the highlights from the past 12 months. One of my favorite parts of this review is identifying what coaches, leaders, and parents (people just like you) found most helpful from my blog this year. As someone who loves consolidated lists of tips and resources, I thought I’d share with you my own Top 10 list from 2016.
At nearly every level of sports, practice time is regulated. The NFL is a solid example of this. Many coaches believe this is making it harder to develop young players, refine skills, and get their teams on the same page. Despite these limitations, coaches can use the sport psychology skill of imagery to help make the most of the practice they do get.
To be a great athlete today means more than having talent on the competition surface. Coaches want players with character and work ethic. They want players who are coachable. They want athletes who are championship teammates, not just top performers. In fact many organizations will take a great teammate who is less skilled versus top talents who are all about themselves.
Why do 92% of people fail to reach their New Year’s goals? They don’t have the commitment, resilience, and determination to see their resolution through. Perhaps they just lack an effective plan. Avoid becoming a statistic in 2017 and set yourself up for success. Set big goals. Make 2017 the best year ever – in sports, work, or life.
In many sports, athletes spend more time between their ears (thinking) than they do playing. This reality can wreck havoc on an athlete after they make a mistake. Many beat themselves up, get down on themselves, and lose confidence. What they need is a reset routine – a systematic process to help athletes “let it go” after a mistake and keep their heads in the game.
One reason I love watching athletes receive awards is the acceptance speeches. In them athletes thank God, their mom, their Little League coach, their teammates, the fans, and on and on. They express tremendous gratitude to all those who helped them along the way. What if we encouraged athletes to express gratitude more often?
Sports fans witnessed history in this year’s October Classic. The Chicago Cubs broke their 108 year World Series Championship drought. They did so in dramatic fashion and displayed all that we love about sports on the biggest stage in baseball. While there was certainly exceptional play on the diamond, I am most interested in what the Cubs have done behind the scenes to build a championship organization. I believe every team can learn something from how the Chicago Cubs select, train, build, and field their team.