“Who Wants it More? This was the headline of the sportspage I read highlighting an article about an upcoming World Cup. As I read the writer’s view on which team “wants it more,” I began to ponder if it really is a matter of wanting it more. Is winning simply based on who has the most desire or in the sportswriters terms a matter of “who wants it more?” I’m pretty sure if we surveyed athletes especially at this time of the year: high school and university athletes eager to start their seasons, World Series contenders, WNBA players, I’m not sure if there would be a statistical difference between the athletes and teams on who wants it more. They all want it!! So what is the determining factor of winning?
Perhaps it’s the team that works the hardest. It is a common claim during interviews of top athletes that it was their hard work and effort that made the difference. Don’t most athletes and teams work relentlessly hard? I’ve had many athletes and teams that were extremely tenacious yet never won a championship and other teams that didn’t work as hard but won, so is it simply a matter of work ethic?
Perhaps it’s the team that has the most athletes in the zone that seals the deal. We have all lived for those slow motion moments in sport where we flawlessly and freely scored, defended, swam or ran. Yet peak performance zone times are unpredictable…they mysteriously appear as mysteriously as they disappear. Being in the zone are but fleeting moments in sport and account for less than 10% of all sports performances.
Perhaps contests are won by athletes who focus on what actually happens the other 90% of the time. Skills are vital, as are desire, hard work and playing in the zone yet I’m convinced that if we learn to adjust and compensate for all that sport has to offer: poor teammate performances, mediocre personal performances, bad calls, inclement weather, injuries, superior opponents, inferior opponents, unruly fans, etc, that’s where the difference lies. If we adjust and compensate to all that comes our way, we are well on the way to personal best performances.
Adjusting and compensating in sport and life will enable all of us to fare well in spite of what comes our way. Preparing for and following through on what happens 90% of the time is at least a B+ in my classes!
I wish you all well this season as you skillfully adjust and compensate to all the challenges that come your way and prepare your athletes to do the same.