|Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 9
|Craig Impelman Speaking | Championship Coaches | Champion's Leadership Library Login
NERVOUS – WORRY = IMPROVED PERFORMANCE (ROY WILLIAMS PART SEVEN)
John Wooden Video Clip (3 min 12 sec.): Coach Wooden is asked: Looking back over your career which team was the greatest?
If you feel "nervous" when faced with the prospect of an important event it does not mean you lack confidence. Excitement and anxiety involve the same chemical process in the brain. Your body can’t tell the difference. How our mind interprets that automatic stress response determines whether we are excited or anxious.
When you feel "nervous" say to yourself "Nervous is good. I have butterflies because I am going to do something, I am excited about and this "nervousness" is adrenaline which gives me more energy to improve my performance."
If you worry about feeling nervous, worry about the outcome and then think that you lack confidence so something bad is going to happen your nervousness becomes anxiety and your performance will suffer.
Nervous – Worry = Excitement = Improved Performance.
Nervous + Worry = Anxiety = Poor Performance
Fear and worry destroy performance capability. Conditions at home, finances or studies are all factors which may create worry and affect a team member's ability. It is possible that an alert coach can help.
It is up to the Coach to eliminate "worry about an unfavorable outcome" in competitive situations. Hall of Fame North Carolina Coach Roy Williams, in his book with Tim Crothers, Hard Work, described how he learned this from his mentor, Hall of Fame Coach Dean Smith:
In 1982 we were playing Georgetown for the National Championship and it was a close game throughout. We were down by one point with 32 seconds to play. Coach Smith called timeout and the guys came over to the bench. The negative look on all their faces scared me to death. It was the first time that night I ever had the thought, "My gosh, we could lose this game." The players sat down in chairs and the coaches knelt in front of them, and I can remember it like it was last night. Coach Smith said, "Okay, we’re in great shape. We’re exactly where we want to be because we’re going to determine the outcome of this game." I pretended to cough so I could look up at the scoreboard just to make sure I had the score right, because he was making me feel like we were ahead. Then he said, "I’m serious. We’re exactly where we want to be. This basketball game is ours. When the team left the huddle, I felt so much better. The look on everybody’s face had changed 180 degrees. I saw Coach Smith pat Michael Jordan on the back and say, "Michael, if you get it, knock it in."
Dean Smith had eliminated the "worry". Michael Jordan made a jump shot with 15 seconds to go and North Carolina won the National Championship 63-62.
The pregame talk Coach Wooden gave before a National Championship Game was the same as any other game: "I've done my job, now it's time for you to do yours. I don't want to know by the expression on your face after the game which team scored more points. Now let's go."
Roy Williams, John Wooden and Dean Smith all eliminated worry from their teams to create improved performance.
Do you know what your team members are worried about? How can you help them not worry?
Yours in Coaching,
The Chip On Your Shoulder
You'll learn when you're older, that chip on your shoulder
Edgar Allen Guest (1881-1959)
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