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Issue 277 - Your Best Effort requires Intensity with Emotional Balance

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 6 Issue 277
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



The unusual combination of high intensity and great emotional balance are both required to perform at your best in any area.
Emotion is sometimes defined as a strong feeling, and certainly strong feelings are required for a high level of performance, but the feelings must be kept under control.
Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs was one of the most intense competitors to ever play professional basketball. He also had great emotional balance. He was also one of the most consistent performers in the history of the game.
We become emotionally off balance when we let our feelings determine our actions instead of reason. This usually happens when we react to the actions of others and lose focus on the task at hand.
The Coach who is overly emotional is not “more intense”, he/she is just more distracted and less in control of the situation. Brad Stevens, the Boston Celtics Coach, said he does not get overly emotional about bad officiating calls because he feels it would distract him from focusing on the next play.
John Wooden was always intense, but as a young coach he struggled with keeping his emotional balance. In his book Coach Wooden's Leadership Game Plan for Success, with Steve Jamison, Coach described his maturation:
Early in my career the errors were common; there were fewer as my emotional control became more disciplined. A leader defined by intensity is a stronger leader. A leader ruled by emotions is weak, the team vulnerable.
In his book with Don Yeager, A Game Plan for Life, Coach described how the example of his high school coach Glenn Curtis helped him:
I learned from Coach Curtis that the coach should try to keep players from being emotional in basketball. If emotions such as anger, frustration, or overblown pride get in the way of control, the game is in trouble. He set the example by seeming to be completely unrattled by the noise around him. Coach Curtis rarely, if ever, seemed to lose his composure.
This lesson can help all of us as coaches, parents, friends and partners. High intensity with great control is a lofty but doable goal.
Do you get "rattled by the noise around you"? What kind of an example are you setting?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman
Twitter: @woodenswisdom




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Application Exercise




Can't is the worst word that's written or spoken;
Doing more harm here than slander and lies;
On it is many a strong spirit broken,
And with it many a good purpose dies.
It springs from the lips of the thoughtless each morning
And robs us of courage we need through the day:
It rings in our ears like a timely-sent warning
And laughs when we falter and fall by the way.

Can't is the father of feeble endeavor,
The parent of terror and half-hearted work;
It weakens the efforts of artisans clever,
And makes of the toiler an indolent shirk.
It poisons the soul of the man with a vision,
It stifles in infancy many a plan;
It greets honest toiling with open derision
And mocks at the hopes and the dreams of a man.

Can't is a word none should speak without blushing;
To utter it should be a symbol of shame;
Ambition and courage it daily is crushing;
It blights a man's purpose and shortens his aim.
Despise it with all of your hatred of error;
Refuse it the lodgment it seeks in your brain;
Arm against it as a creature of terror,
And all that you dream of you some day shall gain.

Can't is the word that is foe to ambition,
An enemy ambushed to shatter your will;
Its prey is forever the man with a mission
And bows but to courage and patience and skill.
Hate it, with hatred that's deep and undying,
For once it is welcomed 'twill break any man;
Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying
And answer this demon by saying: "I can."

Edgar Guest






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