Championship Behaviors

Brett Ledbetter interviewed college basketball coaches and in his book What Drives Winning he compiled a list of performance skills deemed critical to winning.
  • Hardworking: they pay the price with effort.
  • Competitive: thestrive to be their best at all times.
  • Positive: They remain positive especially during critical times.
  • Focused: They eliminate distractions.
  • Resilient: They bounce back from setbacks.
  • Confident: They trust in themselves and their teammates.
  • Enthusiastic: They express enjoyment and know that enthusiasm is contagious.
  • Disciplined: They remain in control.
  • Curious: They are always eager to explore and learn more.
  • Creative: They have an open mindset.
  • Motivated: They demonstrate strong purpose and desire.
  • Courageous: They express fortitude in face of challenges
  • Accountable: They take responsibility for own actions.

A Few Insights About Anson Dorrance

Anson Dorrance is the winningest team sport coach in collegiate history with a  92% winning percentage in the past 41 years coaching the University of North Carolina’s women’s soccer team.  In 2009, Dorrance became the first coach in NCAA history to win 20 championships coaching a single sport. Here are some excerpts from a 2016 interview with Dr. Wade Gilbert:
  • Constantly grow as a coach. “I want my life to be one of never-ending ascension” Coach Dorrance loves to learn. He regularly attends coaching and leadership seminar  both as a speaker and as attendee
  • His approach to learning reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “When one person teaches, two people learn.” He shared that one of the reasons he so enjoys speaking at events is that it gives him an opportunity to learn through the questions that are posed to him. The questions keep him sharp and force him to explain and reflect on how he coaches. He firmly believes that he grows as a coach each time he answers a question.
  • He is a voracious reader, always on the search for a great book on leadership or coaching. Early in his career he identified five great coaches and selected the five most prominent qualities of each. He then used these qualities to create his own model of effective coaching that became the foundation for his coaching philosophy.
  • He keeps a comic strip from Calvin & Hobbes (his favorite) on his office door that reinforces constant growth. In the strip the main character shouts out “I want my life to be one of never-ending ascension” 
  • He acknowledges that he certainly has evolved as a coach over his career and continues to evolve as he recently past the 40 year mark of coaching. For example, at the start of his career he viewed athletes as chess pieces that he controlled in a giant chess match with an overriding goal of winning. His mindset has changed over time and he now places much greater emphasis on building meaningful connections with his athletes and developing successful people through soccer.

--Adapted from


Two Terrific Thoughts From Chuck Daly On Coaching and Loyalty

  • Coaching is like flying an airplane. There’s going to be a lot of turbulence. Your job is to land the plane safely.
  • Some nights, you got to lose with your star player. You don’t always win with him. You got to lose with him. So if Isiah Thomas had lost the game for us tonight, that’s okay because he has won me a lot of games. So I’m going to stay loyal to him even if he’s having a rough night.


What The Best Does Better Than Everyone Else

  1. The best know what they truly want. At some point in their lives, the best have a “Aha!” moment when their vision becomes clear. Suddenly they realize what they really, truly want to achieve. They find their passion. When that happens they are ready to pay the price that greatness requires.
  2. The best want it more. We all want to be great. But the best of the best are willing to do what it takes to be great. The best don’t just think about their desire for greatness; they act on it. They work hard and do the things that others won’t do, and they spend more time doing it.
  3. The best are always striving to get better. They are always looking for ways to learn, apply, improve, and grow. They stay humble and hungry and are lifelong learners.
  4. The best do ordinary things better than everyone else. For all their greatness, the best aren’t that much better than everyone else. They are simply a little better at a lot of things. They work hard to master the fundamentals. They don’t do anything different. They just do the ordinary things better.
  5. The best zoom focus. The best focus on what matters most and tune out distractions. Distractions are the enemy of greatness and the best don't let distractions get in the way of their growth and improvement.
  6. The best are mentally stronger. Life is not a sprint or a marathon. It’s a series of sprints combined with a boxing match. You’re not just running; you are getting hit along the way. The best are able to overcome adversity and challenges. with mental and emotional toughness.
  7. The best overcome their fear. Everyone has fears. The best of the best all have fear, but they overcome it. To beat your enemy, you must know your enemy. Average people shy away from their fears. They either ignore them or hide from them. However, the best seek them out and face them with the intent of conquering them.
  8. The best seize the moment. When the best are in the middle of their performance, they are not thinking “What if I win?” or “What if I lose?” They are not thinking “What if I make a mistake or miss the shot?” They are not interested in what the moment produces but are concerned only with what they produce in the moment. The best define the moment rather than letting the moment define them.
  9. The best tap into a power greater than themselves. The best are conductors, not resistors. When the best look back on their life and accomplishments they know they didn't accomplish it alone. They know a higher and greater power guided and fueled them on their journey.
  10. The best leave a legacy. The best live and work with a bigger purpose. They leave a legacy by making their lives about more than them.
  11. The best make everyone around them better. They do this through their own pursuit of excellence and in the excellence they inspire in others. One person in pursuit of excellence raises the standards of everyone around them. And as they strive for greatness they bring out the greatness in others.
--Adapted from Training Camp by Jon Gordon


TEACH Your People Through Difficult Times

The following comes from "Be A People Person," by John Maxwell: 

What can you do to help people with their problems? First of all, encourage them to face their problems. Too often people would rather flee them, fight them, or forget them. Second, encourage them to solve their problems. Use the following acronym to teach yourself to help other people with difficulties.

Tell them it takes time.

Expose yourself to their problems in order to relate to them.

Assure them of your confidence in them.

Creatively show them how to deal with their problems.

Hope offered to them through the process.