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Developing a Winning Team

The Coach's Corner

Published Jan. 25, 2012 @ midnight

Team and programs often refer to developing an "esprit de corps".  It is that common spirit pervading the members of a body or association of persons.  It implies sympathy, enthusiasm, devotion, and disregard of the individual for the sake of the group. 

Building this "esprit de corps" now, is vital for winning next year.  It is the most important trait a leader can possess is to be unselfish, to have a team-first mind set.  The first task of leadership is to promote and enforce collective loyalty, also know as "Esprit De Corps".

American Educator; Charles Eliot said, "If I had the opportunity to say a final word to all the young people of America, it would be this: Don't think too much about yourself.  Try to cultivate the habit of thinking of others; this will reward you.  Selfishness always brings its own revenge.  It cannot be escaped.  Be unselfish.  That is the first and final commandment for those who would be useful and happy in their usefulness."

The leaders on a team need to work together to create a feeling of unity.  This will help raise morale.  That is, the collective state of mind of our team.  What we think, feel, and believe constitutes morale, whether it is good or bad.

Morale then is confidence which is obtained when players are certain in their own minds that they know their jobs well- that in a game they will win.  "Confidence does not come out of nowhere.  It is a result of something....hours and days and weeks and years of constant hard work and dedication", said Roger Staubach.

Joe Namath said, "What I do is prepare myself until I know I can do what I have to do."

And again I quote Vince Lomardi when he said, "Confidence comes from planning and practicing well.  You get ready during the week and the confidence will be there on game day.  This confidence is a difficult thing to explain.  But you do get it and the team gets it if you have prepared properly."

Morale breeds Confidence.  And courage is born of confidence.  A man is courageous when he knows what to do and what is expected of him.

There can be no great courage where there is no confidence or assurance, and half the battle is in the conviction that we can do what we undertake.

It is easy to be ordinary or mediocre, but it takes courage to excel, to be different from the crowd.  That is why many people can not do it.  The rewards are great, but so are the risks.  It takes courage to sacrifice; to work long hours, to work hard when you could be relaxing; to work out when you are tired or sick; to focus to be the best you can be when there are so many distraction; to seek out tough competition when you know there is a chance you will get beaten.  It is easy to be average, but it is hard to be the best.

It takes courage to stand by your convictions when all those around you have no convictions.  It takes courage to keep fighting when you are losing.  It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before physically and mentally, to test your limits, to break through barriers. 

I firmly believe we are put on this earth to be tested - to be challenged with adversity and to see what we can accomplish.  The successful person is the one who continually faces the problems and the challenges that life had for us - and overcomes them all, no matter what the obstacle.

Most everyone has far more courage than they give themselves credit for.  When tested, people find they have the courage to look deep into their souls and do things they never thought possible.  This amazes most people, who initially do not believe they have much courage.  We all have it - we just do not realize it.

And finally, a team must have enthusiasm.  Enthusiasm comes from appreciation of the worth-while-ness of the cause- the reward that follows outstanding achievement.  It comes from understanding the work, sweat, and pain, all accompanied by determination to get on with the task and receive the prize.

Enthusiasm comes from a vision of accomplishment, a focus on a goal.

Vision is the gift of seeing clearly what we may be.  Vision of where we are going to be and a vision of how hard work now will get us there later.  The more we see, the more we can achieve; the grade of our vision.  The more sacrifice and hard work is the more glorious the accomplishment will be.  The courage to follow our dreams is the first step toward destiny.

Napoleon Hill said, "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

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