Thursday, January 5, 2012

Passion and Level of Effort - The Magic Ingredient

Men's NCAA basketball - On January 4, 2012, Duke (ranked 3rd in current ESPN poll) was beaten by unranked Temple 73-78.

Big deal. Top-ranked teams get upset all the time.Well, it was certainly a big deal for the Temple fans, who stormed the floor after the game.

But it's interesting to appreciate why this happened, why a team with less talent can take control, lead the entire game and beat a team like Duke, most of whose players go on to play professionally. The answer comes from the Duke team itself.

Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski - "They played with great toughness....For some reason, we didn't show up with the enthusiasm and the toughness that we usually display."

Duke's top scorer, freshman guard Austin Rivers - “We were slow and they played a lot harder than we did....They just outhustled us. We have a great team, but we just didn’t fight tonight.”

I watched the whole game and came to same conclusion. Duke has four players 6' 10" or taller, and most - if not all of them - were high school all-Americans. Only one of Temple's players is that big. But at the end of the game Temple had more rebounds than Duke. Duke always has a talented team, but usually when they are beaten it's because the other team played harder.

I often say that any unranked team can beat any top-ranked team if they play with more heart, with more ferocity.

I mention all of this because I love college basketball. And I'm a big Duke fan. I love to see them win, and I hate to see them lose. But beyond that, two questions...
  1. Why can't legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has won more games than any other coach in the history of Division 1 men's basketball, inspire his team of talented players to play with heart? Why can't he get them fired up for every game? Coach Dunphy did it for the Temple Owls. Why couldn't Coach K do it for the Duke players? I think it's a fair question.
  2. How can YOU bring "toughness, heart, passion and ferocity" to your work? How can you engage your maximum level of effort to achieve what's important to you?
Can you coach yourself to do it?

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2012. Building Personal Strength .

1 comment:

be-INFLUENTIAL said...

I believe that "will" always beats "skill".

I am not a big Duke fan but I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach K. and what he has been able to accomplish in his career.

The first question you posed about Coach K. is a good one. Although a fair question, I think it is important to note a couple ideas.

The first being that there is a reason he has won more games than any other basketball coach in the history of Division 1. Yes, the skill of his players is superior to other teams but he was the one responsible for recruiting them. What is more important to note however is that more often than not, his team has had a greater will to win the game; thus the reason for his record.

Second, any time you are leading a powerhouse like Duke Basketball, you are going to get the other teams best effort night in and night out. Although I like to believe that it is possible to always come out on top, this is not always the case. Sometimes you have off days and things just don't go your way.

I don't want to make excuses for Coach K. but it is important to recognize that when things don't go your way and you get knocked down, you have to get back up.

If Coach K. has proved one thing in his career, it is that he is resilient and never stops fighting.

Great post Dennis and thanks for sharing your thoughts.