Corydon Times
Last Updated: May 7th, 2018 - 12:32:45

Coaches' Corner: About Grit
By Barney Ogden
May 7, 2018, 12:27

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Why start a season if you don’t have a little grit?

Anyone who reads my apprentice articles probably knows I am a fan of them old John Wayne movies, the Duke had a way of saying things, and he liked a man “with a little sand”.

No matter the situation, the Duke was always the optimist and relied on that ‘True Grit’.

“When things aren’t going well and we experience a losing streak in life, it can be very difficult to shift our mindset from negative to positive. During tough times, it’s easy to find ourselves focusing on all the things that are going wrong, and never on the things that are going right.”[Sports for the Soul]
“Oddly, it can almost feel “good” to be negative.”

Pat Riley, the winner of five NBA championships as head coach with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat, calls this negative pattern “the Sympathy Syndrome” and he warns that feeling sorry for yourself and seeking sympathy will keep you stuck in defeat…

The Duke would have had a very short movie making experience if-- you know--- he needed a little sympathy. What could be expected if a solution to a negative predicament became no choice at all? How hard is it to let go of a bad state of affairs? Is sympathy an addictive nature of conditions?

Some expert coaches believe some of the problems come from those well- intentioned providers of sympathy when things aren’t going up to snuff, it is a source for attention and opens the gate for the “lovable loser syndrome”. No doubt about the world of competition, sometimes it is hard to catch a breather in the middle of a losing streak, and a “you don’t deserve such a tough break” kind of consolation might make you feel a little better? Some warm and fuzzy kind of makes you feel a little more special?

Riley says,” Sympathy is like junk food. It has no real nourishment. The emptiness comes back very quickly. And nothing gets accomplished in the meantime. Forget about sympathy. Strengthen your state of mind instead.
Even if the odds have shifted against you, go after your goal with the same effort, the same belief, and the same faith.”

So in the arena of sports you must be optimistic? I think the Duke had the grip on optimism. Words like resolve and faith in our selves are flying around in my head.

Joe Torre, World Series champion coach, says this in his book Ground Rule for Winners, “I’ve learned many lessons about life from baseball, and here’s an important one: It’s not always going to be wonderful. Slumps are inevitable, they aren’t signs that we don’t have what it takes to succeed. Here’s my bottom line: Acknowledge that you’ve had a bad day, but don’t live there. Move on with as much confidence as you can muster. Life deals its blows to each one of us. Whether the setbacks occur in our personal or professional lives, they can ruin our dreams for success—if we let them. If I hadn’t followed this advice, I might have quit baseball a long time ago. We sometimes hear people say that “optimism” doesn’t work. They tell us they tried “positive thinking,” but it didn’t work for them. They say that despite thinking only positive thoughts, setbacks still occurred. But what they’re describing is not “positive thinking,” it’s “wishful thinking.”

[Sports for the Soul] Drive. Competitiveness. Determination. Commitment. These are the qualities we associate with winners.

But without optimism—that gut-level belief that we can succeed—we are far less likely to realize our dreams. Setbacks and slumps will stop us cold if we don’t have basic faith in ourselves.

No matter how badly we want to succeed, if we don’t feel optimistic about our abilities and our potential, every day is going to be a struggle.

Optimism is the ability to accept negative events without allowing them to destroy our resolve.