What to Discover or Recall:
Discover that real competitors are those players that players love to play with, spectators love to watch, and coaches love to coach.
Learn that real competitors are hard to find.
Comprehend that real competitors make their teammates better.
Learn that real competors give their best efforts at all times.
Real competitors are those players that come to play every time they step on the court. They are a team’s hardest workers constantly improving. They are not the type that scream at their teammates or officials or kick trash cans after the game. They are the type that are determined and just plain enjoy playing. Competitors are those players that players love to play with not against, spectators love to watch, and coaches love to coach.
Legendary Coach, John Wooden, once said that “If you have one competitor on your squad you will be successful. If you have two you will be competing for the conference title and with three a national title.” He had no idea what four or five competitors on a single team would be like since he had never witnessed it.
In trying situations, they compete and work hard to over come it rather than get frustrated or angry. Michael Jordan is a classic example of a real competitor. He competed every night despite the fact that he was facing the opponents' best defenders, double teams and even triple teams. Despite constantly being held and grabbed, pushed and shoved, he rarely ever complained to the officials or lost control of his actions. Instead he accepted the challenge and was more motivated to succeed. When Michael Jordan stepped on the court he was bound and determined to be successful no matter what the opponents threw at him.
They are not successful at the expense of their teammates. They do not gripe or complain about the teammates’ lack of skills and abilities. But, are helpful not only in improving their teammates skills but more importantly their confidence. Did you know while playing for the Chicago Bulls, in order to make his teammates better, Michael Jordan scrimmaged with the second string during practices?
After bad calls or turnovers, rather than griping or complaining, they hustle back on defense to make a defense stop. They are fully aware of the fact that the only turnovers that hurt a team are the ones upon which the opponent score. If/when the opponent does not score after a turnover then, no matter how bad, that turnover is erased!
Winning is certainly important, but how it is achieved is more important. To them the most satisfaction and pleasure comes in playing the game, not with the final game score. They know that when they are passing, shooting, rebounding and playing solid defense well, the scoreboard will take care of itself. They play every play in a game as if it was the last play of the game. After the game, regardless of the score, they are satisfied because they gave it their best effort.
A simple test for competitiveness is to place a player with the worst players and have them play against the best players. In this situation, do they accept the challenge and give it their best in rallying their lesser skilled teammates into competing against the stronger team or do they complain, sulk and give a less than best effort because they are over matched and not playing with the stronger group?