Evolution Team Culture

Champions focus, not on winning championships and outcomes, BUT on the mental process of building a strong foundation/culture that will ultimately create peak performance on a consistent basis, thus placing them in position to be the best they can be and, as a byproduct, win themselves a conference, league or national championship, college scholarships. That said, as a coaches and parents, OUR MISSION for athletes should always be each athlete “Evolving” into the best possible version of themselves! Let’s call this "the X-Factor", the process which is achieved by diligent, eager attention to all "the little things" plus the 10 Fundamental Foundational Building Blocks that can be controlled.

Evolution Process

Know that this journey, this "PROCESS", is filled with obstacles. ATHLETES WILL LOSE AND THEY WILL FAIL.  That is expected, even necessary to the process. Yet the process can teach athletes how to go to the next level. The obstacles become challenges that are courageously embrace as opportunities to be tested, to learn and ultimately forge ahead. Plateaus will appear, and rather than get impatient or frustrated, use these times to adapt to that level, master it and go on to discover levels beyond what were thought to be limits. To force, or try to make oneself push past the plateau will prove to be futile, counterproductive and discouraging. Plateaus are simply one more natural stop on the journey, time to refuel the emotional, spiritual, mental tanks, enjoy the moment, accrue the confidence from mastering that level and then advance not when you think you should, but when the time is right. Trust that sometimes one must go slower, to arrive sooner.

A big element in the process is refusing to offer excuses when experiencing slumps, choking, and mental blocks, or a have a mental meltdown, in performance. Expect fluctuations and listen to their song. In a safe environment (team, family, and inner self) athletes will continue the road to peak performance and mental toughness. Remember that excuses ARE regressions, failures, mistakes. They allow the mind to "check out", not care and justify failure and write it off as useless when, indeed, it is our guru, teacher, mentor. . . how we learn all that we know. Embrace and accept failure -- this builds mental toughness, and ultimately leads to success.

The 10 Building Blocks of a Strong Culture

  1. COMMITMENT (to a higher cause and purpose other than self)
  2. RESPONSIBILITY (know and accept your role)
  3. ACCOUNTABILITY (give and take critique)
  4. INTEGRITY (gap between what you say and what you do)
  5. RESPECT (sport, opponent, self, coach, team, officials, parents)
  6. TRUST (self, others, coach)
  7. LEADERSHIP (everyone's work)
  8. COURAGE/COMPASSION  twins (give)
  9. SERVICE (sacrifice/suffering)
  10. HUMILITY (others get credit, gratitude and thankfulness)

Individually, athletes on such teams must be accountable by demonstrating certain virtues/values/traits, and sport itself presents constant opportunities to develop this inner, spiritual development for sport, and more so, LIFE. Some of these virtues/values/traits are: fearlessness, audaciousness, relentlessness, tenaciousness, patience, perseverance, persistence, flexibility, fortitude and belief in self and others. Such virtues are more vital than talent when trying to experience success.

What is CULTURE?

The success of the individual depends on the success of TEAM. The strength of the wolf is in the pack. All sports, individual or group, demand teams with culture (golf, tennis, wrestling, x-c, track, swimming).

  1. Culture is about socially transmitted behavior patterns, beliefs, thoughts. These are the traits of the "Culture of Champions."
  2. A set of predominant attitudes/behaviors that characterize the TEAM.
  3. Developed through education/mentoring/example.
  4. An atmosphere and environment that is welcoming, nurturing, that we create using the 10 Building Blocks and certain virtues.
  5. Culture works together to arrive at a common understanding that benefits ALL rather than one.
  6. It's a bond. . . it is not essential to be "best friends" (although this is often the outcome) yet crucial to accept, respect others' contributions, interests, strengths, weaknesses.
  7. Shared experiences. . . resembles a family.
  8. Leadership in a culture that is healthy becomes everyone's job. Leading is when you reflect the culture you create.
  9. Ritual. . . all healthy cultures create ritual, be it pre-game, practice, meditation/visualization, post-game.
  10. A CHAMPIONSHIP IS MERELY A BY PRODUCT, not the goal. The goals are smart work, dedication, ritual, the 10 Building Blocks, the virtues. A championship is only ONE of several BY PRODUCTS that our goals were achieved (goals being the process of Being a Champion before a game is played). THERE IS NO NEED FOR A TIME TABLE when a CULTURE adopts this "Process of Champions". Such time tables create slumps, blocks, choking, mental lapses, tension, stress, pressure, tightness, tentativeness and this runs counter to our mission (back to "the X-Factor" -- the exceptional execution of extraordinary excellence) . . . of experiencing peak performance and being the best we can be with what we control and all "the little things".
  11. Do not say, "I will try. . . " -- simply do! If you fail, learn from it and improve. The word "try" implies that you may or may not succeed. It's all success regardless of outcome if you realize that by doing over and over, you get better and better. Don't try. . . DO!!!
  12. To get started -- discuss the meaning of each of the 10 Blocks as it relates to your team, and how to specifically demonstrate each collectively and individually.
  13. Define your culture. Ask: Who are we? Where are we going? Then ask your athletes how to act on these answers.