Part 2 in a series on the coaching profession
If you are a coach, you probably use the word, ‘work’ often with your athletes and when thinking of your job. The bottom line is, if you don’t work, you probably will not be successful. More importantly, you have to work hard! Unless of course you come from a rich family and there’s no need to work. But I bet the person you are living off has worked their ass off to make all that money! Whether it’s a job, a relationship or a sport, it takes work for it to be successful.
Work is the most used word in athletics; whether you’re a coach or player. “C’mon work hard!” “Let’s get to work!”. Since this is a coach’s blog, let’s look at work ethic from a coaches perspective.
There are many sayings, quotes and cliches when it comes to describing work ethic. You can actually write a book on all of them. “The harder you work, the more results you will see.” “Idleness gives you room for doubts and fears”. And my favorite, “The only place ‘success’ comes before ‘work’ is in the dictionary.” There is Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It”. You get the picture…
To me, most coaches work hard-just some work harder than others and some put a higher premium on working hard. One man’s idea of hard work may differ from another.
You always read the stories on guys who show up to their office as early as 6AM and stay until Midnight. Then you hear about guys who get in at 8AM and leave by 6PM. I know of coaches who have been successful and only spend 8 hours a day in the office. I know guys who have been fired that work 14 hours.
Grinders, runts, workaholics, relentless, doer…you hear all the descriptions.
Where does a work ethic come from? Are you born with it? Do you learn it? Is it instilled?
To me, having a strong work ethic is all about your motivation (another Blog entry/topic at a later date). What do you want to accomplish?
In college basketball, coaches recruit, they work with their players on skill development and of course preparing their teams in practice, watching film and scouting. It’s not easy. In the pro’s, it’s more of the same-except for the recruiting and monitoring academics. Lawrence Frank of the New Jersey Nets is one of the hardest working coaches the sport has ever seen. I have read articles, spoken to people and have seen it in person. Frank gets after it.
Guys like Tom Crean, Tom Izzo, Kevin O’Neil and Josh Pastner are all guys who work their asses off. Crean once told me, “when you feel like taking a nap, write another recruiting note.”
Working hard is doing what has to be done regardless if it takes you 8 hours or 14. If you work your tail off, anything is possible. But you have to be willing to work. Give so much time to working hard; don’t leave any stone unturned. One of my favorite actors of all time Steve McQueen said, “Hard work is essential to any lasting success. Don’t let work bug you.”
Your talent is important but not most important. Your work ethic can make up for it. Playing the sport doesn’t matter-too many people put too much emphasis on that nonsense. Frank and Crean did not play college basketball (not even sure if they played high school). But they work. They do everything possible to learn their craft; they are always trying to get better. They outwork you.
Today, make a stand to work a bit harder. Put in a little extra more time. See what happens. The most important thing is to work smart. Distinguish what’s most important. Keep getting better at what you do.
My favorite author of all-time Stephen King once said, “Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it.”
(Next: Why are you Coaching?)