“DOs & DON’Ts” For Getting Back In The Game

Bill Walsh, legendary San Francisco 49ers coach

An excerpt from “The Score Takes Care of Itself,” by legendary NFL football coach, Bill Walsh, with Steve Jamison & Craig Walsh

In chapter 1, Walsh states, “When you stand and overcome a significant setback, you’ll find an increasing inner confidence and self-assurance that has been created by conquering defeat. Absorbing and overcoming this kind of punishment engenders a sober, steely toughness that results in a hardened sense of independence and a personal belief that you can take on anything. survive and win.”

Walsh further states: “The competitor that won’t go away, who won’t stay down, has one of the most formidable competitive advantages of all. When the worst happens; and it did to me, I was helped by knowing what it took to be that kind of competitor—to not go away, to get up and fight back….. I have tried to adhere to some simple dos and don’ts for mental and emotional equilibrium in my personal and professional life, nothing profound, just a few plain and uncomplicated reninders that helped me manage things mentally and stay afloat:

MY FIVE DOs FOR GETTING BACK IN THE GAME

  1. Do expect defeat. It’s a given when the stakes are high and the competition is working ferociously to beat you. If you’re surprised when it happens then you’re dreaming; dreamers don’t last long.
  2. Do force yourself to stop looking backward to dwelling on the professional “train wreck” you were just in. It’s mental quicksand.
  3. Do allow yourself appropriate recovery—grieving—time. You’ve just been knocked senseless, give yourself a little time to recuperate.  The keyword here is “little”. Don’t let it drag on.
  4. Do tell yourself “I will stand and fight again,” with the knowledge that when things are at their worst you are closer that you can imagine to success. Our Super Bowl victory arrived less that sixteen months after my “train wreck” in Miami.
  5. Do begin planning for your next serious encounter. The smallest steps—plans—move you forward on the road to recivery. Focus on the fix.

MY FIVE DON’Ts

  1. Don’t ask “Why me?”
  2. Don’t expect sympathy.
  3. Don’t bellyache.
  4. Don’t keep accepting condolences.
  5. Don’t blame others.

What great advice from one of the greatest coaches ever! I must thank my friend, Joey Burton, for recommending this book. He has become a great friend and shared this book at the right time in my development! Thanks, JB!

For more information on this book or to purchase it, click here.

March Madness Inspires Me

It never ceases to amaze me that besides all of the great basketball  drama; BUSTED brackets (especially this year on the men’s side), and upsets galore — there are always incredible stories of coaches and players that overcame adversity in their lives. These stories include tragedy, sickness, disappointments, and setbacks; but, the common thread is that through it all, these teams or individuals persevered!!   

Let’s take a closer look at this year’s tournament: 

  • University of Tennessee Volunteers men’s basketball: In January, 2010: 4 Tennessee men’s basketball players were arrested during a

    Bruce Pearl, Tennessee head basketball coach

    traffic stop for speeding near Tennessee’s campus. They were later charged with numerous misdeamor counts including possession of marijuana and illegal possession of a firearm. Head coach, Bruce Pearl, suspends these players (sending a strong message) and plays several weeks with 7 only players!! At the time, the “Vols” were 10-2 and ranked 14th in the country. In spite of this adversity, Coach Pearl continues coaching, motivating, utilizing the team he HAS in front of him and they end up reaching the Elite 8 and losing to Michigan State in a one point thriller, 70-69.

 

  •   Coach Frank Martin, now head coach of Kansas State’s men’s basketball team, was a newly hired assistant coach under Bob Huggins, at Kansas State, in March of 2006. While on the recruiting trail Frank Martin began to feel sick and he took some Advil, drank some water 

Frank Martin

and thought he could “sweat it out.” Before long, his temperature rose and he was shaking uncontrollably. Another assistant coach checked on him in his hotel room, saw his condition and Martin was rushed to the hospital, where his temperature soon rose to 105. Frank Martin was told he had pancreatic cancer, which has a survival rate of 4%. Devastated, he called his wife who had returned to their home in Cincinnati, of the news. Later the doctors returned with a prognosis of pancreatitis, and not cancer and that he would be ok. Pancreatitis has two high triggers of alcohol and high-fat foods and so through discipline and determination he has it under control. This year as head coach of Kansas State’s men’s basketball, he led them to the winningest season in Kansas State basketball history (29-3) and a birth in the Elite 8!!

  • Finally, Tiffanie Shives, a 5-10, junior guard for Gonzaga University, was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 10 years old. Tiffanie overcomes adversity on a daily basis with the need to constantly check her blood sugar, take medication, monitor her diet; IN ADDITION

    Tiffanie Shives, Gonzaga point guard

    to being an outstanding student/athlete on one the most improved women’s basketball programs in the country! On top of the diabetic condition, Tiffanie also overcame a season-ending knee injury that caused her to sit out the ‘Zags, 1st win in the NCAA’s last year. Talk about overcoming adversity!!

   

These are just a few of the many incredible stories from this year’s tournament alone. I have been collecting stories like this for several years because they have inspired me! When I hear of these stories — it always reminds me of my favorite quote, Adversity causes some men to break; and others to BREAK records” – William A Ward.  How do you respond to adversity? Do you hide in a closet and lament “woe is me?” or “WHY me?” Or do you, like Bruce Pearl, Frank Martin, Tiffanie Shives, use that adversity to motivate you to persevere and WIN??!!! These people show me what’s important:  

It’s not about what happens to you; but what you DO about what happens to you” – AR Bernard  

“March Madness Inspires Me” — to overcome “Life’s Challenges” 

Winners Learn From Mistakes

Mariano "Mo" Rivera, NY Yankees, arguably the greatest "closer" in Major League Baseball

A real winner is someone who can win the game at the buzzer, score the touchdown in the final seconds,

and hit a home run when you’re down by one in the bottom of the ninth.

The people who close out the game are so rare and

so special that when they come along, we practically turn them into athletic gods!

Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Larry Bird, Joe Montana, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Wayne Gretzky—

these are the winners or “closers” who taught me a great lesson:

When you make a mistake or miss a shot, you don’t fix it the next day or the next week.

You fix it at the moment by being able to move on.

They can make a mistake and not let it ruin the whole game for them. 

Michael can miss seven shots in a row and not hesitate to take the eighth.

He says to himself, “I know I am not terrible. I just have to keep shooting until I hit one.”

THE THING TO LEARN FROM WINNERS IS: How move on!

Great athletes have incredible capacity to forget their mistakes.

So, learn from your mistakes, don’t dwell on them.

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PAT O’BRIEN, former CBS Sports Host