The Other 90 Percent: Teaching and Enhancing Success

ErocWolverineSenior Writer IJune 2, 2008

The Other 90% - Teaching and Enhancing Success

The first part of the series dealt with change and the second part cognitive functions. Both topics combine at a fork commonly termed success. Success is the intended result of a wide spectrum of coaching strategies and decisions that cross into every aspect of human endeavor, both on and off the field.

Scholarship has two encompassing types of definitions for success. The first is lexical. This is the literal dictionary meaning not so arbitrarily accepted as agreed upon fact. In the case of success the lexical definition falls short of what a coach needs to instill success. The lexical definition of success revolves around fame or wealth. So by the lexical definition most athletes are unsuccessful.

The second type of definition, operational, fits coaches and athletes better. Here, the party in need can tailor a definition to fit the task at hand. Literature in the area of success indicates over sixty current models of success that start with a definition. Below is a discussion that contains “modern” and age-old theory that contributes to success in athletics. Pay attention to the criteria and determine for yourself what programs have fallen short in this regard and what programs have advanced by paying attention to the tenets of success.

One simple model asserts there are three parts to success, ability, attitude, and perfecting the processes that lead to success. Ability, at the highest level of any endeavor, is necessary but not sufficient for success. Someone may wish to be a college football player and outwork anyone else but end up on the field as a bloody pulp. Success at the highest level is a collection of many abilities rolled into one construct.

Now for that ever present concern of attitude. Attitude is subdivided into intrinsic and extrinsic. While both motivational types always intermix, the coach largely controls the extrinsic motivation and the intrinsic motivation is nested within the player’s psyche. Techniques used for motivation run the gambit, from fear to anger, to rewards, to ownership and everything in between. It is almost silly to declare a most effective coaching motivational strategy.

Having said that, there is a collection of motivational processes that are sound, regardless of the approach along the motivational spectrum. Now, guess where this conversation starts? It starts with the most proven of all motivational strategies, goal setting. Even though this strategy is from the now deflated behaviorist school of psychology, it remains supreme. Coaches do this at all levels, the difference is that some programs just write down a few goals and give them lip service. The goals have no real power or meaning and do not serve as a true motivational tool intended to boost success. Some programs have a goal setting process that is dead serious and players talk about them as if they were brainwashed. The goals become power and spur motivation and therefore success. Almost universally, teams set goals and players set individual goals. Meetings about goals and performance are frequently held and some can become more of an interrogation than a meeting. A good program constantly (read daily) reinforces both team and individual goals. Players should be made to memorize team and individual goals and frequently be put on the spot to state and comment on goals. The worst mistake, concerning goals, is to create too many. Take the age of the participants, up to 20, and divide by two. This number is workable and equates for college-aged athletes to a maximum of 10 goals.

written by Doc4blu