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Issue 452 - "Competitive Character" (Nick Saban Part Six)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 10 Issue 452
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Nick Saban, the Head Football Coach at Alabama, has coached six teams to National Championships. The following is a summary from The Big Book Of Saban compiled by Alex Kirby, where Coach Saban described "Competitive Character":
"Competitive character is the ability to withstand adversities and have the discipline to maintain focus on the next play. Championship teams are resilient. No matter what is thrown at them, no matter how deep the hole, they find a way to bounce back and overcome adversity.
We tell our players you have to play for 60 minutes in the game and never look at the score board. That's hard sometimes for fans to understand because that's exactly how they look at the game.
When you're in the process of being a competitor, you have to play, play to play to play. You can't let the last play good or bad affect the next play.
A team lacking competitive character will melt down psychologically when they have great adversity. One bad play can affect them for an entire game. A team with competitive character reacts with "stuff happens" and goes to the next play undeterred.
You have to be prepared to sustain your performance for 60 minutes in the game, and I don't think that's all going to be just about emotion. A lot of that is about competitive character."
In his book, How Good Do You Want to Be? With Brian Curtis, Coach Saban expanded on the idea:
"There are so many ways in which we hold ourselves back, taking away from our potential successes. Worrying about the score, surrendering to distractions, fearing or dealing with success and failure, being complacent and imposing limitations on ourselves are some of the ways we limit our potential.
With competitive character, all of these can be controlled with the proper mind-set. It is natural to be affected by where you are in life, but looking at the score and results can only take away from your competitive spirit. Stay focused on the next play."
Competitive character is not just wanting to win all the time. When faced with great adversity, people with Competitive Character have the mental discipline to move on not melt down.
How do you teach Competitive Character?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise



When An Old Man Gets To Thinking

When an old man gets to thinking of the years he's traveled through,
He hears again the laughter of the little ones he knew.
He isn't counting money, and he isn't planning schemes;
He's at home with friendly people in the shadow of his dreams.

When he's lived through all life's trials and his sun is in the west,
When he's tasted all life's pleasures and he knows which ones were best,
Then his mind is stored with riches, not of silver and of gold,
But of happy smiling faces and the joys he couldn't hold.

Could we see what he is seeing as he's dreaming in his chair,
We should find no scene of struggle in the distance over there.
As he counts his memory treasures, we should see some shady lane
Where's he walking with his sweetheart, young, and arm in arm again.

We should meet with friendly people, simple, tender folk and kind,
That had once been glad to love him. In his dreaming we should find
All the many little beauties that enrich the lives of men
That the eyes of youth scarce notice and the poets seldom pen.

Age will tell you that the memory is the treasure-house of man.
Gold and fleeting fame may vanish, but life's riches never can;
For the little home of laughter and the voice of every friend
And the joys of real contentment linger with us to the end.

Edgar Allen Guest (1881-1959)






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