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Issue 317 - Accountability and Assertiveness (Pat Summitt)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 8 Issue 317
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Pat Summitt served as the head coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team from 1974 to 2012. Her teams won eight national championships and an all-time record of 1,098 games.
In thirty-eight years, her players had a 100 percent graduation rate, which Coach Summitt said "was the real point of all that winning."
Her program was built on effort, discipline, intensity and love. In her book Sum It Up, Pat described her rules for school which reflected those values: A.) Lady Vols were required to sit in the first three rows of every lecture. B.) If you cut a class, you didn't play in the next game. Period. C) If somebody didn't get her study hall hours in, I made the whole team get up and run at six the next morning.
In her book Reach for the Summit, Coach described her principles she called The Definite Dozen:
1. Respect yourself and others: There is no such thing as self-respect without respect for others.
When we left a hotel room we turned the lights off. We did not leave a place with the lights on and the TV on. We always had to go back and double-check. It was a little thing about respecting others.
2. Take Full Responsibility: Admit to and make yourself accountable for mistakes. How can you improve if you're never wrong? In facing weakness, you learn how much there is in you, and you find a blueprint for real strength. Don't look away from the difficult things.
3. Develop and Demonstrate Loyalty: Value those colleagues who tell you the truth, not just what you want to hear.
4. Learn to Be a Great Communicator: Listening is crucial to good communication.
5. Discipline Yourself So No One Else Has To: Self-discipline helps you believe in yourself. Lack of effort is tantamount to a lack of respect for our teammates.
6. Make Hard Work Your Passion: Do the things that aren't fun first, and do them well. "You'll be finished when it's done. And it's not done till it's done right."
7. Don't Just Work Hard, Work Smart
8. Put the Team Before Yourself: A willingness to do whatever it is that needs to be done regardless of self-interest is the hallmark of a mature leader.
9. Make Winning an Attitude: Great teams explain their failure; they don't excuse it. Then they pay a visit to Charles Atlas and get stronger.
10. Be a Competitor: "You're stronger than you think! You don't ever let other people tell you who you are!"
11. Change Is a Must: Change equals self-improvement. Take risks. You can't steal second base with your foot on first.
12. Handle Success Like You Handle Failure: Continue to seek new goals. "Winning doesn't make you better than anyone else. Losing doesn't make you a bad person either. Be humble."
Coach Summitt was clear about her objective as a Coach. She was the ultimate people builder:
"I wanted to help other women be strong. Nora Ephron said, "Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim," That, right there, was the heart of my conviction.
Feel bullied? Do something about it. Suffer a setback? Handle it. I never wanted our players to act weak, or hurt, or intimidated. "Don't wilt!" I shouted. "Be assertive!"
I'm proud that so many shy, nonaggressive girls left our program assertive women, with an air of confidence and self-respect."
What will you be proud of?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise




The snow had begun in the gloaming,
And busily all the night
Had been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white.

Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl,
And the poorest twig on the elm-tree
Was ridged inch deep with pearl.

From sheds new-roofed with Carrara
Came Chanticleer's muffled crow,
The stiff rails were softened to swan's-down,
And still fluttered down the snow.

I stood and watched by the window
The noiseless work of the sky,
And the sudden flurries of snow-birds,
Like brown leaves whirling by.

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
Where a little headstone stood;
How the flakes were folding it gently,
As did robins the babes in the wood.

Up spoke our own little Mabel,
Saying, 'Father, who makes it snow?'
And I told of the good All-father
Who cares for us here below.

Again I looked at the snowfall,
And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o'er our first great sorrow,
When that mound was heaped so high.

I remembered the gradual patience
That fell from that cloud like snow,
Flake by flake, healing and hiding
The scar of our deep-plunged woe.

And again to the child I whispered,
'The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father
Alone can make it fall! '

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
Folded close under deepening snow.
James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)






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