Saturday, August 6, 2016
Pat Summitt was the head women’s basketball coach at the University of Tennessee until her health caused her to retire. She passed away recently and will always be considered one of the greatest coaches of all time in any sport. Pat was known for her remarkable commitment and her ability to get the best for and from her athletes.
I was listening to an old interview with her recently and she commented on her coaching philosophy with her teams. She said that offense sells tickets, defense wins games, and rebounding wins championships. Her point was that you can have an off night shooting the basketball, but should never have an off night on defense or rebounding. Unlike a shooting rhythm, the other two actions are predicated mainly on hard work and discipline. Success in those two areas didn’t come down to luck, but was centered on focus, energy, and intensity.
That mindset doesn’t just apply to basketball. While I don’t necessary need to play defense and rebound in my day-to-day life (at least not in the literal sense) I can take that same mentality with my commitment level. I know there will be days when I’m not at the top of my game. It’s in those moments that true grit will be rewarded as I pour my efforts into consistent energy and selfless teamwork. When I recognize things are not as smooth as they might sometimes be, I can still give my focus, energy, and intensity to those around me.
Consistency in effort is a defining mark of character.