Coach O’s perspective on toughness
It can be hard to define, but you know it when you see it. Coaches demand it and great players possess it. This quality is a part of the fabric of every great program’s culture. Simply put, it may be the most important quality a successful person, student or athlete will possess. What is this quality? Toughness.
What is toughness? Toughness is most often associated with physicality and strength, but for my money–as Napoleon suggests–toughness is much more between the ears than anything. I often tell players toughness is not simply playing when you are sick or injured. Toughness is so much more. Toughness is how you handle pressure and how you handle failure.
Tough people share some common qualities: 1. They don’t blame others for their failure. Toughness requires a person to be personally accountable for their actions and to in turn accept responsibility. 2. Tough people do not waste time concerning themselves with the thoughts of others. In other words, they are not interested in being cool at the expense of success. 3. Tough people do not give up. They endeavor to work harder. Toughness dictates that an individual is willing to put in more time than others to succeed. 4. Tough people understand you cannot be tough one day and weak the next. Consistency is the mark of those who are tough. Anybody can be good for a day. Tough people are good most every day.
Where does toughness come from? Goodness, I wish I knew. I think more than anything it comes from our parents and coaches.
The challenge we all face–and I have discussed this at length in more than one of these columns–is to love and support our children without coddling them. Certainly there is a fine line and more than once I have been on the wrong side of that line–pushing too hard or coddling too much. I can only tell you the tougher you are on your children, while conveying your love for them, the better chance there is that your child will develop the requisite level of toughness to succeed in life.
I conclude all of this by saying that I have failed more often than I care to admit when it has come to being tough. However, I am grateful to have a wife, parents, and friends who will tell me when I am lacking the necessary toughness to succeed.
This partial story is reprinted from The Full Curl, published weekly by Coach Ostanik. You can find Coach O and Monroe Athletic results on Twitter @thefullcurl.