Being relentless means never being satisfied. It means creating new goals every time you reach your personal best. If you’re good, it means you don’t stop until you’re great. If you’re great, it means you fight until you are unstoppable.
Greatness makes you a legend; being the best makes you an icon. If you want to be great, deliver the unexpected. If you want to be the best, deliver a miracle.
Why do I call them (ultimate competitors) Cleaners? Because they take responsibility for everything. When something goes wrong, they don’t blame others because they never really count on anyone else to get the job done in the first place. They just clean up the mess and move on.
Failure is never an option; even if it takes years, he’ll find a way to turn a bad situation to his benefit, and he won’t stop until he succeeds.
You don’t have to love the work to be successful; you just have to be relentless about achieving it.
All that matters is the end result, not the instant gratification along the way.
If you want to be the very best of the best, it’s the details that make the difference.
You train like a pro by committing to work at the highest level of intensity, every moment, in everything you do, constantly working on your body, your skills, your preparation, leaving no detail to chance.
The true measure of an individual is determined by what you can’t measure – the intangibles. Anyone can measure weight, height, physical strength, speed. . . . but you can’t measure commitment, persistence, or the instinctive power of the muscle in your chest, your heart. That’s where your true work begins; understanding what you want to achieve and knowing what you’re willing to endure to get it.
I just finished watching ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary called “Survive and Advance” featuring the improbable 1983 NCAA Championship run made by the late Jim Valvano and his North Carolina State Wolfpack.
While Coach Valvano’s post NCAA Championship celebration has been shown hundreds of times since then, neither the championship nor the celebration is his biggest claim to fame.
On March 4, 1994, Coach Valvano, who was diagnosed with bone cancer nine months earlier, spoke at the very first ESPY Awards show and gave one of the most emotional and memorable speeches in television history. Here is an excerpt from that speech:
I’m going to speak longer than anybody else has spoken tonight. That’s the way it goes. Time is very precious to me.
I don’t know how much I have left and I have some things that I would like to say.
To me, there are three things we should all do every day. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day.
Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought.
Number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. You do that seven days a week; you’re going to have something special.
With ESPN’s support we are starting the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research. And its motto is “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” I’m going to work as hard as I can for cancer research and hopefully, maybe, we’ll have some cures and some breakthroughs. . .
I know, I gotta go, I gotta go… I want to say it again. Cancer can take away all my physical abilities, but it cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul.
And those three things are going to carry on forever. I thank you and God bless you all.
If you haven’t done so already take the time out to watch “Survive and Advance.” You’ll laugh, you’ll think, and you’ll get emotional!
For basketball players, coaches, and fans everywhere, March Madness is without a doubt the best time of year.
Every shot, every turnover, every call by an official is bigger, is more important and is more scrutinized than similar actions that take place during the regular season.
As kids we all dream of someday being in a situation where we can hit the game winning shot that leads our team to victory. Not only do we dream about it, but we practice it as well.
As our mind counts down the clock, 5-4-3-2-1, we make some type of dribble move and shoot a 3 pointer right before our mental buzzer goes off. (We almost always do the same thing from half court too!) If we make the shot we momentarily celebrate as we imagine our teammates mobbing us and the deafening noise of the crowd.
However, if we miss we usually go grab the ball, walk out to the same spot – and try again. And sometimes again, and again, and again until we finally make it.
But something happens to a lot of players as they get older. They no longer dream of being in that situation anymore. In fact, they secretly try to avoid it. Why? Because the fear of failure is stronger than the anticipated rewards of success!
As a result they sabotage themselves by not cutting quite as hard, by not rubbing their man off the pick correctly, or by hesitating just long enough that getting a clean shot off is impossible.
If you find yourself in a similar situation some time in the next couple weeks, trust your preparation and don’t be afraid to fail.
No one remembers Babe Ruth’s strikeouts, Tom Brady’s incomplete passes, Tiger Wood’s shanked drives, or Michael Jordan’s missed game winners. But everyone remembers when things go right!
Here’s a thought on external motivation from speaker and author Larry Winget that definitely applies to all players and coaches:
Motivation doesn’t work. You can threaten, coerce, praise, promise, and dangle money, time off, and other carrots of every size, shape, and color, and it will always come down to this:
People do what they do when they want to do it and when the consequences of not doing it are painful enough not to do it.
Players – Don’t wait until you miss the game winning free throw or until you lose a scholarship offer because you can’t hit a 3 or make a post move before you start spending a little more time in the gym.
Coaches – Don’t forget that coaches who aren’t highly motivated usually aren’t coaching very long.
(Happy Birthday to Megan Stricklin! Her inner drive, independence, and willingness to get out of her comfort zone makes her one of the most successful and well rounded people I know!)
Players of all ages and at all levels often aspire to make the All Star team. Some see it as a badge of honor and as being recognized for a job well done.
Others use the potential possibility of being named an All Star as an extra boost of motivation to work hard and stay focused.
Whatever the reason, if you want to make the All Star team you must make sure that you DO NOT play like an All Star!
If you watched Sunday night’s NBA All Star game then you know exactly what I am talking about.
No close-outs, no ball pressure, centers with no range firing up 3 pointers, uncontested shot after uncontested shot, the lane opening up like the Red Sea on every drive to the basket, no one running hard in either direction, no fouls, no steals, very little passing, etc.
Entertaining – yes, at times. Real basketball – not even close! In fact, if you play that way you’ll be lucky to make most middle school teams!
Is it too much to ask that the best players on the planet actually play hard and really compete against one another?
As a real fan I don’t want to watch a two hour dunk contest disguised as a game.
I want to watch great players getting after it, sharing the ball, playing some defense, and actually competing.
I want to be able to tell my sons that if they just play as hard as the All Stars then they’ll be all right when it comes to their own teams.
I’ve been thinking that maybe the NBA should take the same approach that Major Leage Baseball takes – the division (league) that wins the All Star game gets home court advantage during the finals.
Make the game worth something and maybe the players will play harder.
Until then, if you want to make the All Star team, don’t play like an All Star!
Coach Tony Bennett at the University of Virginia doesn’t believe in having a lot of team rules.
Instead his teams are taught 5 core values that must be constantly demonstrated both on and off the court.
These same values were used by Coach Bennett’s father, Coach Dick Bennett at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay for over 20 years.
Knowing who you are – not thinking too highly of yourself but not thinking too little of yourself either.
Are you hungry to compete and excel and be enthusiastic about the opportunity to do so? Will you be passionate when you don’t feel like it?
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Basketball is a sport in which a team can come together and achieve greatness even without having the greatest individual talents.
Knowing your role and sacrificing as needed to make your teammates and your team better. It’s a key element to unity and greatness.
Not only involves being grateful when things go well but also being thankful for what you learn during the hard times.
One of the best things about these core values is that they apply to all teams regardless of age, level, or gender. It’s impossible to live by these values and not become a better person, a better player, and a better teammate int he process.
I have always been a big fan of Tom Izzo and the way he runs Michigan State’s men’s basketball program. He has established a very specific culture where his players are expected to play hard, physical and unselfish.
Incoming freshmen know the expectations before they ever step onto the court and those same standards are enforced every single day.
One of the things that Coach Izzo does to constantly remind his team of the culture they have established is to have the initials “PP” and “TPW” prominently displayed on each locker where each player can see them every day.
“PP” stands for Players Play. They don’t try to coach, complain, wish things were easier or make excuses. They just play.
“TPW” stands for Tough Players Win. Once a measure of toughness is added, players have a chance to make an impact and to win games.
It’s a philosophy and a culture that has worked for Izzo and the Spartans for years and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down any time soon.