Total Pageviews

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Toughness by Jay Bilas (The Book)

Several years ago Jay Bilas wrote an article on toughness which went viral in the basketball world. High school and college coaches all reprinted the article and shared it with their players. (I have it reprinted on this blog.) Bilas said the motivation for writing the article was a reaction to how a commentator used the word "tough" to describe a physical and perhaps a dirty player. The basic premise of the article was "toughness" is more about an attitude and a self-discipline vs. a physical characteristic.

In his book on the same topic, Bilas looks at the characteristics of tough people. He seeks out people in sports and business who are tough in their approach to sport and life.

Toughness Can Be Learned
"Toughness isn't physical. It has nothing to do with size, physical strength, or athleticism. It's an intangible, an attitude, a philosophy. Some people may be born with the aptitude to be tougher than others, but I believe that true toughness is a skill that can be developed and improved in everyone."

Toughness Is Ability To Be Focused 
Roy Willams says, "Toughness is, 'I'm not going to lose sight of what I want to do by what you do, or by outside influences."  How often do we see players lose focus because they don't have the toughness to handle missing shots, or refs not calling fouls.

Bill Self says, "Soft is when you choose the easier path when the right path is the harder one."

Toughness Involves Trust
"It requires toughness to to trust others, and to trust and believe in yourself. Trust is a choice."

"The toughest players and teammates believe in what their coaches and their teammates are striving to accomplish, and what they are capable of doing together as a team."

"A great teammate acknowledges the loftier goals and is willing to sacrifice for the benefit of the group. There is no true sacrifice without belief."

Bilas tells a story to illustrate need for trust. He describes as a young team they lost at Carolina to the #1 Tarbheels. On the way back some of the players were talking in glowing terms about how good Carolina was. David Henderson interrupted and said, "We didn't go there to suck up to those guys! I don't want to hear how good you think they are. We were going there to win, and we should have won.  If you didn't go there to win, then you shouldn't have made the trip. There is no reason we should not have won. No reason at all." Bilas' point with the story is to say Henderson had a belief in his ability and a belief in his teammates ability- that trust made him a tough competitor.

Trust involves developing a feeling it is not about the opponent or about the refs- it is about us. After Duke was blown out by UNLV in the Final Four- the next year Coach K showed the team the tape of that game before they again played UNLV. While some of his ass't coaches worried it would send a message about how good UNLV was, Coach K's purpose was to show in that game how Duke could have changed the outcome by correcting their errors. The message- it is not about UNLV, it is about Duke.

Tough Players Don't Rationalize
"Accountability is being held to the standard you have accepted as what you want, individually and collectively."

Coach K says, "Toughness is the ability not to rationalize. Rationalization is to make an excuse for not achieving more that you have to that point."

Move to Next Play
Whether the last play was good or the last play was bad, tough players move on to the next play.

Jon Gruden, "One snap at a time."

Bill Self talking about meeting adversity. He says, "If you meet those circumstances differently you're not tough."

Collective Toughness- Trust
"You are not tough alone. The best teams have a collective toughness, and toughness is contagious."

"It is easy to believe in yourself and your team when everything is going well, and wins are piling up. Adversity is where your belief is tested and where true toughness is tested."

Bill Self says, "Peer pressure can make us do things we shouldn't do, but it can make us want to do the tough things, the right things, too."

"Talking is essential to wining a team's confidence. Communication is about connecting and being connected." Players must learn to talk on the floor so "teammates must be able to trust completely that you are there to help them."

NASA talks about- "Responsible to the element, accountable to the mission." That means you take care of your task but ultimately realize the total mission is most important.

Grant Hill says- "When players are willing to hold each other accountable, I think it carries more weight and has more impact. And the coach doesn't have to be the only voice."

"Every player on the team is a 'role player.' The most important role of all, the role of being a great teammate. Accepting and embracing a role is really about the selfless willingness to sacrifice. You have to accept you are second to the team."

Jon Gruden says- "Accepting roles is about a 'big-picture environment,' and it takes a maturity to accept it, to be convinced to buy in fully."

"Toughest teams are the most together teams."

"The toughest teams are not just made up of great players, but of great teammates."

"Being around tough and tough-minded people can and will make everyone else around them tougher. The contagious nature of toughness, of commitment, takes that team to the highest level. If you have a player on your team who loafs, it will allow others to loaf. The best of us fall prey to that lowering of standards."

Toughness Involves Being Prepared
Bob Knight says, "Everyone want to win but only a few are willing to prepare to win."  He goes on to say, "You must have the will and concentration necessary to prepare."

Bilas says, "A consistent theme among tough people that I know, they each take confidence from their work."

Herm Edwards says, " When it's your turn, when you have a shot, an opportunity, you have to be prepared for it and take advantage of it." Herm was one of 22 defensive backs as a rookie competing for a spot on the Eagles roster.

Edwards says, "I was mentally tough consistently."

Roy Williams says, "It is like the stock market. The more you invest, the more it means to you. That's ownership. Everything important starts with your investment in it. People say 'all in."

Jon Gruden believes preparation produces confidence, and confidence produces toughness.

Toughness is Discipline
Coach K says, "Discipline is not punishment. Discipline is doing the right thing at the right time, to the best of your ability."

"If we wanted to win a championship, we needed to approach every single game as championship game and give a championship effort in every single practice. Our opponent is not determining our standard of performance."

Bilas commented on his career, "I did not want to be common, I wanted to be uncommon."

Kevin Eastman says, "We focus on excellence in every single action. We are not taking 500 shots. We are taking one perfect shot five hundred time."

Because of a lack of discipline, sometimes players look for short cuts. Tom Crean calls these "hero plays," where a player tries to do something outside of the team concept, or outside what that player is capable of doing.

Toughness Involves Courage
"Courage isn't the absence of fear or doubt. Rather, courage is overcoming it."

Coach K says, "You are not tough alone, and you are not courageous alone."

Steve Kerr describes, "I trusted the process, I trusted the work I had put in, and I was willing to live with the results."

Tough Have Persistence
"It takes toughness to push your limits."

Soccer great Julie Foudy says- "Your threshold is not what you think it is."

Bilas makes a great point about approach to getting better. He talked about how he used to see the purpose of hard work was so practice and games would be "easier." Grant Hill taught him the purpose of hard work was not to make things easier but to make it so you would perform at a higher level- but still be uncomfortable as you pushed your limits.

Bilas' high school drama coach told him, "Don't tell me how tough the situation is, show me how tough you are facing the situation."

Tommy Amaker says, "What is confidence? Hard work plus success equals confidence. You don't just get confidence. You have to earn it."

No comments:

Post a Comment