Don’t let your emotions interfere with your success.

There have been times for all of us when we let negative emotions control our actions. I don’t think we can stress enough to the kids, as parents and coaches, the importance of controlling our emotions – having poise. I came across some interesting quotes (see below) by John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach and one of the most successful coaches in any sport ever. Coach Wooden’s success is not something one can argue about. His philosophies regarding poise certainly had something to do with his success as a coach, the success of his teams, and the personal success of his players.

Maybe you can start tracking “Poise Points”.  Every player that makes it through a period, quarter, or any other defined timeframe, without allowing themself to get agitated gets a Poise Point.  This might be more effective than tracking penalties as “Penalty Minutes” accrued denotes failure whereas “Poise Points” accrued denotes success.  Also, “Penalty Minutes” include penalties that occurred as a result of normal play in addition to those that occurred as a result of losing one’s poise – i.e., the “stupid” penalites.  Therefore, tracking Penalty Minutes does not result in a true measure of whether or not a player is achieving the ability to maintain intensity without being hampered by emotionalism (as Coach Wooden refers to below).

From “Wooden on Leadership”, by John Wooden.

“… poise – being true to oneself, not getting rattled, thrown off, or unbalanced regardless of the circumstances or situation.”

“Self-Control in little things leads to control of bigger things. For example, the reason I prohibited profanity – a small issue – during practices was because it was usually caused by frustration or anger. I felt that a player who couldn’t control his language when he got upset during a scrimmage would be more likely to lose control in more damaging ways during the heat of a competition – fouling, fighting, or making other poor decisions that would almost always hurt the team.”

“The team must understand that Self-Control is highly prized: loss of control will not be tolerated.”

“Practice moderation and balance in all that you do.”

“Intensity makes your stronger. Emotionalism makes you weaker.”

“… emotional control is a primary component of consistency, which, in turn, is a primary component of success.”

“Good judgment, common sense, and reason all fly out the window when emotions kick down your door. Unfortunately, this usually happens in times of turmoil or crisis when you and your organization can least afford it. Thus, I explained to our players, managers, trainers, and assistant coaches that there was to be no excessive exuberance when we scored against an opponent at an important juncture nor excessive dejection when an opponent scored against UCLA.”

“If you let your emotions take over, you’ll be outplayed.”

“When balance is lost, an organization grows weaker and is made vulnerable.”

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