What Champions Read

Roy WilliamsNorth Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams has now won three national championships. This ranks him as one of the greatest coaches of all time, joining Jim Calhoun, John Wooden, Adolph Rupp, Bob Knight, and Mike Krzyzewski as the only basketball coaches to win three or more national titles.

How did Roy Williams reach the top of his profession? What is his secret to success?

Hard work. Extremely hard work.

Everything Roy Williams has accomplished is a result of his relentless work ethic and his willingness to make long, hard sacrifices. In his autobiography, appropriately titled Hard Work, Williams shares this story about what he had to go through in his early days as an assistant for Dean Smith at North Carolina… [click to continue…]

Rick PitinoI started Sports for the Soul because I saw way too many false promises being promoted throughout the self-improvement industry. Look around and you’ll find no shortage of quick fixes and magic formulas being marketed to anyone who wants to be successful. The truth is, if a “shortcut to success” sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

In the world of sports, false promises have a way of being exposed quickly. The scoreboard doesn’t lie and real-world results will show us whether a coach’s self-improvement philosophy works or doesn’t.

It’s also important to note that unlike some self-help gurus, successful coaches tend to be much more direct about what it takes to achieve one’s goals. They don’t make excuses and they don’t sugarcoat the truth about what it’s going to take.

Rick Pitino is a perfect example. His winning philosophy revolves around one simple message. It’s a blunt message that stings those who prefer to make excuses and paint themselves as victims. Coach Pitino’s philosophy can be summed up in one sentence: Success is a choice and there are no shortcuts[click to continue…]

Don ShulaVince Lombardi famously said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

Well-intentioned people will often remind us that “nobody’s perfect.” They tell us this after a disappointment, encouraging us to bounce back quickly and to not beat ourselves up for failing to be perfect.

However, we have to be careful that we don’t lose the competitive edge that comes from striving for perfection. We don’t want to use the fact that perfection is unattainable as an excuse for not striving to be our very best.

Only once in the 96-year history of the National Football League has a team finished a season perfect—with no losses and no ties. That team was the 1972 Miami Dolphins, which won Super Bowl VII and finished the season with a 17-0 record.

Don Shula, the legendary coach of that team says that aiming for perfection was one of the keys to all of his teams’ success—even those teams that failed to finish undefeated… [click to continue…]

Villanova 2016 National ChampsVillanova basketball coach Jay Wright chronicled his team’s 2016 national championship season in the book Attitude. In this book, Coach Wright gives an inside look at everything the team went through during its national-title run while also sharing the most important lessons he’s learned—lessons that lead to success both on and off the basketball court.

Throughout the book, Jay Wright gives credit again and again to a man he says was vital to the success his team had. This man was not a fellow coach nor was he a key player on the team. This man was the team chaplain and his five spiritual keys to success served as the foundation for everything the Wildcats accomplished… [click to continue…]

Lou HoltzWhen you study the lives of high achievers, you’ll find that the happiest and most successful people are those who find their true calling and pursue it relentlessly. The career they pursue is much more than a job for them; it’s a purpose. What they choose to do for a living is far from just a way to pay the bills; it’s a calling they believe they were born to do.

Knowing this, we all want to find our true calling in life. We all want to find that one career we were made for.

It’s not always easy to find your calling, but when you do magic happens.

Finding your true calling is not to be taken lightly and there’s more than one way to find it. (See this article on how Mike Leach discovered his calling.)

Lou Holtz, the legendary college football coach who led Notre Dame to the national championship in 1988, has a simple three-step process for finding the career that will be your calling… [click to continue…]

Tom Coughlin“People often say that motivation doesn’t last,” Zig Ziglar, the late great inspirational speaker and business leader, once said. “Well, neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”

We all need to be motivated and motivated regularly. Motivation is the fuel for charging forward, especially when we face adversity. If we’re going after anything worthwhile, we know our willpower will be tested again and again along the way. Regular motivation is what keeps you moving forward when times get tough.

But how do top achievers motivate themselves and the people they’re leading? What’s the best way to get results? Is it through fear? Is it through money? Is it through inspirational speeches? Or, is there another way, a better way?

John Wooden famously said, “Pride is a much better motivator than fear. It produces far better results that last for a much longer time.”

Especially early in his career, two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Tom Coughlin would sometimes motivate with a tough-love, fear-based approach. But after four decades of coaching, he came to recognize that pride was the best motivational tool available… [click to continue…]

Mike LeachLess than 4% of the 128 current FBS head football coaches have never actually played college football. Mike Leach is one of those rare few.

And while those odds alone are enough to discourage most from pursuing such a career path, Leach is even more unique in the fact that he planned on becoming a lawyer and earned a law degree BEFORE deciding to become a football coach.

What’s more, when Mike Leach decided to chase his dream of becoming a football coach, he was already married with a child, he was broke, and he had $45,000 in student loan debt.

Most people would have looked at Leach’s situation and told him it was way too risky to pursue coaching as a career. But, most people don’t view risk the same way Mike Leach and other high achievers do[click to continue…]

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