As I was watching a behind-the-scenes documentary about the University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball Team, I was trying to figure out what has made this prestigious program so successful. Geno Auriemma, the legendary head coach of the Huskies, has an obvious recruiting strategy that could explain why his teams have won 10 national championships. Every year, he successfully signs a few highly-rated basketball players, but many equally talented high school stars choose other schools. Why do Coach Auriemma’s recruits and teams consistently outperform the competition?
Here is the secret to the amazing success of Coach Auriemma’s program—He recruits players who truly love the game! He clearly believes players who love the game will ultimately outperform players of equal or even superior talent, on and off the court. I believe the same holds true for players who love the game of baseball or softball.
So, what are the characteristics of players who love the Game? Here are a few of my thoughts:
Players who love the Game…
- naturally practice and play hard.
- humbly accept and appreciate success.
- strive tirelessly to turn failure into improvement.
- partner with coaches to achieve team goals.
- welcome tough practices.
- never accept mediocrity.
- embrace pressure situations as fun challenges.
- make their teammates better.
- compete selflessly, not selfishly.
As someone who loves the Game, I can easily identify players who are like-minded. These players need less coaching, less motivation, less adulation, and are more successful. They truly play “for the love of the game”. Why do you play?