Posted on

2 Lessons from Be the Best Coaches Convention

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Be the Best Coaches Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey. When attending a coaches conference it’s always amazing to me that those coaches that have achieved the most success in terms of wins and losses are the ones who want to learn the most.

 

At the Be the Best Coaches convention there were a number of successful NCAA Division I softball coaches, including University of Tennessee Co-Head Coach Ralph Weekly, University of Michigan legendary Head Coach Carol Hitchens, University of Oklahoma’s Head Coach Patty Gasso and James Madison’s Head Coach Mickey Dean. Each one of these coaches was a presenter at some point during the convention, however, when they were not presenting, they were engaged in the various presentations, trying to pull new insights they could use into their program.

 

When I came home from this convention, I did a little research on the success these head coaches have had.  These four coaches have combined for 4,476 wins and 1433 losses.  This is means these four coaches have won over 81% of their games.  While they have achieved the success in terms of wins and losses, they refuse to be satisfied with where they are.  This is common among all high performers, the desire to get better, the status quo is not acceptable.

 

A second lesson learned from each of these competitors is their respect for each other.  This respect is the true focus of competition.  The root of competition is seeking with our opponent to play at the highest level, not competing against the opponent to pull them down.  If the highest achieving coaches can demonstrate this respect, then each of us can do this in our everyday life.

 

This is living with the Competitor’s Heart, the confidence to know you are great, but the desire to become more.  As you work to become more and compete, you respect your opponent to the highest of levels.

 

Continue to build your Competitor’s Heart and remember that everyday is a competition and it is yours to win.

Posted on

Engaging the TRIBE of Competitors

As we enter the first week of 2017 take the time to pause and reflect on the year.  As you reflect, try to do this impartially, allowing your mind to observe what occurred.  These events and your progress will eventually be labeled as successful or not however, we challenge you to truly reflect on the progress that has been made in your life.  If you do not see progress, make a commitment to use your strengths in 2017.  Notice I said, use your strengths, not improve on your weaknesses.  It is commonplace for people to choose a New Year’s resolution in an area of their life they are dissatisfied with, an area of weakness.  This approach is a set-up for failure.

This week, I challenge you to a new way of thinking for the year 2017, choose a word that will provide clarity and direction to your life for the entire year.  (This process is outlined in the book One Word the Will Change your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page)

Over the last three years, I have utilized the process of choosing a word that you will live out and engage in for the year.  This process has provided clarity and direction.  My word for 2014 was “Enjoy.”  Throughout 2014, my focus was enjoying every moment that was gifted to me.  While my word for 2015 “Growth,” I have been blessed with immense growth throughout the year.  Here was my post for the beginning of 2015 post on the word “Growth.”

For 2016, the word “Respond” chose me.  This word chose me because our lives are made of our responses to what is occurring around us and as I reflect on 2016, my responses were focused and the awesome piece is that I enjoyed personal and professional growth throughout the year.  You see the process of living out a word that has chosen you does not end with the change of a calendar year, the words stick with you.  Here was my post for the beginning of 2016 post on the word “Respond.”

So for 2017, the word that has chosen me is, “Engage.”  As competitors and agents of change, we are called to engage with every person or experience that comes into our lives.  In writing this weekly newsletter, my goal is to engage with the TRIBE of Competitors.

We are looking for you as a member of the Community of Competitors to help all of us RESPOND in 2017 and ENGAGE in the process of choosing a word that you will live out for the calendar year.

This brings us to you.  What do you want out of 2017?  Over the next week, as you mindfully progress through your work on a daily basis, observe what is occurring and what you want for this year.  Forget the easily broken new year’s resolution and choose a word that provides clarity and direction for your life.  When you have decided on a word, email it to me, share it on social media with a message to me, or comment below with your word.

Check out the book that outlines the process of choosing one word: One Word the Will Change your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page

If you would like to receive this newsletter directly to your inbox, use the following link to join the Community of Competitors:

Community of Competitors Weekly Newsletter

Enjoy and grow throughout this week.

Yours in Competition,

Jeff Swarr

Chief Competition Officer

Posted on

THANKFUL for Challenges and Failures

On this Thanksgiving, many will take the time to recognize and name that for which they are thankful.  If you are like most people this will begin with family, health, and the list will go on.  I am thankful for the immediate family of my wife, Emily, our two sons, Simon, 7, and Spencer, 4, the extended family of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  I am also thankful for the blessing of health that my immediate and extended family enjoys.  Moving from there, I would be remiss if I did not mention that I am thankful for a steady career as a teacher and the colleagues that I am blessed to work with, many of whom I call friends.

I could continue to list the things that I am thankful for, but there is one thought of thankfulness that continues to build a space in my brain and that is to be thankful for challenges and failures.  Challenges and failures have led me to enjoy the successes that have blessed my life.

I am thankful for the failures of previous relationships prior to meeting my wife, Emily.  These failures forced me to become a better person, knowing that relationships and ultimately marriage takes work and commitment.

I am thankful for the challenges and failures as a coach.  The many losses that I endured as a Collegiate Head Baseball Coach forced me to evaluate myself and my Core Values.  This failure challenged me to become more and focus on the connections with others and how I can serve others, rather than having them serve me.  These challenges led me to the Core Values, of Learning, Teaching, and Serving.

I am thankful for the times as a young coach that I lost control, breaking a clipboard, throwing a fungo bat, or going into a general tirade.  These situations have demonstrated to me the need for control and have allowed me to become a better father when responding to Simon and Spencer, a better teacher when working with a lethargic student, and have increased my ability to respond using logic and training rather than emotion.

I am thankful for the challenges and failures of positions I applied for and did not get.  I once found out I did not get a head coaching position from the person who got the job.  (That was awkward.)  I went to an interview in a neighboring school district with no portfolio or examples, totally unprepared.  I interviewed for an Athletic Director position, as a finalist and received no communication, not an email, or phone call from them for 3+ months, until I received a form email saying they had filled the position.  I also interviewed for another Athletic Director position and was told in front of another candidate that neither of us would get the position.  I am thankful for all of these failures and challenges because they fill my life with appreciation for the teaching position that I have at Lampeter-Strasburg High School because I am part of a staff that landed itself in the Top 1% of schools in Pennsylvania for improving the performance of their students in Algebra.

So when we sit down and list the things we are thankful for today, your challenge is to list a couple of failures and challenges you have experienced.  Look at how they have been a blessing or how they can be turned into a blessing because right around the corner from that challenge is the blessing.

Thanks for being a part of the TRIBE of Competitors.  Check out our launch of the Competitor’s Heart TRIBE Membership that is 50% for a LIMITED TIME.  It makes a great gift for the ELITE Competitor in your life.

YES, I WANT 50% OFF COMPETITOR’S HEART TRIBE MEMBERSHIP

Posted on

Changing the Question

What if we take a risk and it does not work out?

This was the question I was asked by one of the competitors this past week when I spoke at the Adidas Future 500 Soccer ID Camp at Eastern University.

This question is a common question that young competitors have floating around in their mind. What if we take a risk and it does not work out?

This question is focused on the failure or lack of success that are possible in any risk that is taken and the mindset that is pervasive throughout society that gets pushed into our young competitors’ minds. It is the goal of the Heart of the Competitor to change this mindset and ask a different question, “What if we never take the risk, what would we miss out on?”

This is a striking change in perspective.

The original question is focused on the failure and lack of success, as measured by society and it is the narrative that many competitors, young and old have floating around in their mind, the fear of failure and at the same time, the fear of success. The original question is focused specifically on fear. The challenge is to move from fearing to enjoying the experience that is our life, our competition. Our life is a competition with our self to get the most out of it. We are blessed with the opportunities that are presented to us and we are blessed to take action on these opportunities. The actions we take allow us to learn and then apply this learning in future opportunities. Taking action creates an abundance of opportunities for us to increase the experiences available to us.

So ask yourself the question: “What if we never take the risk, what would we miss out on?”

Then, go and do the thing you have been holding back on. When competitors young and old look back on their lives, they will regret more of what they did NOT do, than more of what they did do.

If you are a coach reading this, allow your competitors to take risks and be there to provide the learning context from their action.

If you are a parent, support your child’s coach in taking risks to build a great program AND support your child in their risk taking.

If you are a player, go out and perform, freely, enjoying the experience and learning from each opportunity, in other words, go out and COMPETE.

Enjoy the experience that is your Competition.

 

 

Posted on

What does total Commitment look like?

“If you don’t make a total commitment to whatever you’re doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking. It’s tough enough getting that boat to shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his life jacket on.”

– Lou Holtz, Hall of Fame College Football Coach

Commitment to the process of progress over a long period of time allows achievement and accomplishment to occur. Total commitment is made of mind, body, and soul to the task at hand in the pursuit of the dreams that have been made into goals. When a total commitment is made teammates, coaches, and everyone they come in contact with recognize the commitment in the competitor’s life.

Just as commitment is recognizable and easily followed, lack of commitment is easily identified. Are you looking to go whichever way the wind blows? Are you lacking or always changing your morning or evening routines? Do you have trouble being motivated to complete your training? Are you always looking for an easy way out? Like Hall of Fame College Football Coach, Lou Holtz is saying in today’s quote, total commitment to a goal, total commitment to a team is difficult. Total commitment becomes more difficult when in the face of adversity one of the individuals is looking to “jump ship.” Instead of looking for an opportunity to “jump ship,” look for an opportunity to row harder and push your mind and body to stay focused on the next step.

Commitment must be the strongest in the face of adversity. The Heart of the Competitor expects and embraces adversity as an opportunity, an opportunity to develop and display their commitment. The true Heart of the Competitor appreciates the adversity as a way to grow.

Look for the adversity; look for the challenges as your way to grow your commitment.

Question of the Day:

What challenges have you encountered in the last day, week, or month that have allowed you to develop and display your commitment?

Posted on

Perfection Does Not Win, Competing Does

“Challenges are the doors to success and failure is only part of the journey.”

 – Eric Wong

Perfectionism is a huge roadblock to development.

Each challenge that presents itself is an opportunity to test your development and is not meant to be a demand for perfection. Perfection is never the goal. Pitching a perfect game in baseball has only been accomplished 21 times in the modern day game of baseball began being played in 1900.

Perfection is never the goal, competition is. The journey that we enjoy as competitors is filled with successes and accompanied by failures. The true Heart of a Competitor learns more from the failures than from success. We are not seeking failure however, we are pulling lessons from these failures and progressing to become the best version of ourselves we can become.

The cure for perfectionism is to seek out challenges. Push yourself to edge of your limits, enjoying the challenge and providing the best opportunity to test your ability. You are meant to be experiencing the challenges you are currently experiencing. You are meant to be pushing yourself to find out what you are capable of accomplishing. This is the journey, the doors that are opened when you are focused and open to every possible experience that is presented to you.

Knock each roadblock, remind yourself that you are developing the Heart of the Competitor and you are on the journey to being the greatest competitor you are capable of becoming.

Question of the Day:

 What has been holding you back on your Journey? What have you been avoiding? Seek out the challenge and attack it.

Posted on

Give and Compete from the Heart

As you give more of your heart, you get more in return.

As you give more of your heart, your influence expands.

As you give more of your heart, you are called to give more.

As you give more of your heart, you develop strength.

As you give more of your heart, you have the courage to COMPETE.

 

Competing takes courage. The courage to test your limits. The courage to step outside of your comfort zone and place your abilities to the test. The courage to fight the societal pressure of wins and losses. The courage to compete with yourself instead of comparing yourself to others.

The Heart of the Competitor is a courageously driven machine to become the best it can become. You have the Heart of a Competitor and are driven to create and use every possible situation as a learning opportunity.

In his book Choke, Sian Beilock details the need to prepare for performance in stressful moments by training with stressful situations. Police officers that are trained to be able to shoot and hit a target while being fired upon are much more successful than those that have only ever practiced without return fire. This is a must for the Heart of a Competitor, training in mentally and physically stressful situations. For the Heart of a Competitor, the number one way to create stressful situations in practice is to keep track of your progress in an area and that is done by keeping score. If you want to get better at something in a competitive situation, keep score of it in a practice situation and hold yourself accountable.

As you give more of your heart and focus in practice, you will get more of your heart and focus in a competition.

Question of the Day: 

What are you going to measure in practice that will increase your competitive performance?

Posted on

Enjoy Your Growth as You Respond

Respond

As we enter the last week of 2015 take the time to pause and reflect on the year.  As you reflect, try to do this impartially, allowing your mind to observe what occurred.  These events and your progress will eventually be labeled as successful or not however, we challenge you to truly reflect on the progress that has been made in your life.  If you do not see progress, make a commitment to use your strengths in 2016.  Notice I said, use your strengths, not improve on your weaknesses.  It is commonplace for people to choose a New Year’s resolution in an area of their life they are dissatisfied with, an area of weakness.  This approach is a set-up for failure.

This week, I challenge you to a new way of thinking for the year 2016, choose a word that will provide clarity and direction to your life for the entire year.  (This process is outlined in the book One Word the Will Change your Life by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page)

Over the last two years, I have utilized the process of choosing a word that you will live out and engage in for the year.  This process has provided clarity and direction.  My word for 2014 was “Enjoy.”  Throughout 2014, my focus was enjoying every moment that was gifted to me.  As 2015 comes to a close and I reflect on my word of “Growth,” I have been blessed with immense growth throughout the year.  Here is last year’s post on the word “Growth.”

If you look back at last year’s message on the word “Growth,” my goal was to use every opportunity as an area of growth, utilizing my strengths to continually grow and in turn see those that we have been blessed to work with will grow.  As I review 2015, I can emphatically say that I have been blessed with GROWTH throughout my life.

For 2016, I have chosen the word “Respond.”  In going through the process of having a word choose me for the year, I kept coming back to our lives as Competitors being built NOT on what is happening around us, but how we RESPOND to what is occurring around us.  If we look around at the Competitors that have been successful and achieved their goals, they respond with a focus and determination that is unmatched.

We are looking for you as a member of the Community of Competitors to help all of us RESPOND in 2016.  Pass this message on to someone and grow the Community of Competitors.

This brings us to you.  What do you want out of 2016?  Over the next week, as you mindfully progress through your work on a daily basis, observe what is occurring and what you want for next year.  Choose a word that provides clarity and direction for your life.  When you have decided on a word, email it to me, share it on social media with a message to me, or comment below with your word.

If you would like to se receive this as an email directly to your inbox, use the following link to join the Community of Competitors:

Community of Competitors Weekly Newsletter

Enjoy and grow throughout this week.

Yours in Competition,

Jeff Swarr

Chief Competition Officer