Coaches are philosophers. They embrace and develop ideologies that make them more effective at creating a winning team culture, season after season.
Those coaches that can effectively ingrain their philosophy in their players are the ones who leave a legacy to remember. From embracing meditation to focusing on the fundamentals, legendary coaches hone a clear and consistent world view that empowers and inspires their players to perform their best.
Here are seven championship-winning philosophies to embrace.
1. Phil Jackson
Chicago Bull's coach Phil Jackson became an avid practitioner of meditation after reading the book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. He led meditation groups preaching compassion, mindfulness and selflessness, and his meditation practice helped him win eleven NBA championships. The goal of meditation, Jackson noted, was to "build the muscle of the mind," so that athletes could learn to focus and center themselves, leaving only that which was needed to perform their best. He even had his player's practice literally sitting still. Jackson said, "I taught them how to hold their hands, where their shoulders had to be, the whole process of being in an upright situation so you're not slouched... and they bought into it."
Meditation helps us perform under pressure. "Build the muscle" of your mind by learning to center yourself in moments of calm, and you'll be better prepared to perform and focus in times of strife. Meditate, stay calm under stress, and keep your eyes on the end goal.
2. Bill Belichick
As Patriot's head coach, Bill Belichick has won fourteen consecutive seasons, has six AFC championships, and has four Super Bowl titles. His philosophy? "Do your job." That's it.
Belichick trains his players to focus on only what they can control - their own performance and output. Anything else is just noise. In today's hyper-connected and fast-paced work environment, it can be easy to be distracted or to try and do everything. But ultimately, the best performers are those who can execute on their key responsibilities. Own your work and embrace the clarity that comes with it.
3. John Wooden
UCLA basketball head coach John Wooden had a trio of rules, "Don't whine, don't complain, and don't make excuses."Do your best. And when things go wrong: don't whine or complain or look for blame, just keep moving forward.
4. Mike Krzyzewski
Duke basketball head coach Mike Kryzewski's outstanding record can be credited to his "next play" philosophy. It's not about what has happened, the mistakes you've made, or the success you've had. It's about the next thing you're going to do.Focus on your next play or fall behind.
5. Bill Walsh
In his book, The Score Takes Care of Itself, San Francisco 49ers head coach, Bill Walsh explains the concept of writing your own script for success. Before each game, he would write down all possible plays for every type of situation. This practice not only prepared him for all sorts of contingencies, but gave him the confidence that he could execute under pressure, because the hard work and decision making was already done. Work for the best outcome, but prepare for the worst.
6. Paul "Bear" Bryant
When college football coach Bear Bryant moved to Alabama, a restaurant owner asked him for a signed photo. Bryant sent over a photo a few days later. A few years later, Bryant tried to recruit a player who initially rejected him, but then, surprisingly changed his mind and took the offer.
When Bryant asked why he changed his mind, the athlete explained that his grandfather was the restaurant owner who had asked for a photo all those years ago. "My grandpa said that [...] he never expected you to remember him [...] He said you could teach me more than football, and I had to play for a man like you, so I guess I'm going to."
In life and business, it doesn't cost anything to be thoughtful--and the rewards are unimaginable.
7. Pat Summitt
Even after a diagnosis of early-onset dementia, Pat Summitt, the winningest NCAA basketball coach of all time, didn't call in sick. Instead, she came up with a game plan to handle her illness and got to work. Such a decision isn't surprising from someone who is famous for her motto: "Attitude is a choice."
Every day you make the decision to come at the world from a negative or positive point of view. It's your choice, and no one else's.
What's your guiding philosophy for work and life?