What is the definition of success?  In the dictionary it is the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted.  How do we really apply that definition to athletic achievement?  As a coach I have often used a certain example with my players in order to help them understand what success really is relative to sport.  Let me give that example as if I were speaking to my players:

“I’m sure you guys have all seen a world class 100 meter sprint before.  Have you ever seen a race where the winner of the race is so dominant that he eases up and cruises through the finish line because he is five yards in front of the rest of the field?  Well I saw a race like that once and the guy who finished last actually fell across the finish line.  Now, based on success being defined by the achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted who do you think succeeded in the race, the guy who won by five yards or the guy who finished last?

Many of my players over the years have said that based upon the definition in the dictionary, it was the guy who won the race that succeeded because he achieved what he desired…to win the race.  My response to my players is “yes, he won the race but did you know that the guy who finished last falling through the finish line set a personal best time and the guy who won the race missed a world record by two tenths of a second?  Now, given that scenario who do you think truly succeeded?”

The point that I go on to explain to my players is that success is not always measured by whether or not you win the race but how hard you try from the start to the finish.  In my opinion, the guy who set a personal best time is an example of true success because he gave 100%, so much so that he fell through the finish line.

I think that it is extremely important that your players understand that true success is not measured merely by whether or not you win the game, catch the pass, make the tackle, or complete the pass…it’s the effort you give when trying to achieve something desired, planned, or attempted!

Coach Van Tassel


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