This article is also posted on the Coaches Toolbox, a collection of free resources for coaches of all sports
By Cory Dobbs, Ed.D.
A Note to the Student-Athlete
The Little Big Things
Excellence Begins by Sweating the Small Stuff
I recently had breakfast at a neighborhood Denny’s. During the course of the meal I visited the restroom. Upon entering I noticed scraps of paper towel on the floor. The sink basin revealed soap drippings that had probably been there since the day before. No, I’m not a neat freak. It’s just that in a world addicted to mediocrity little things are really big things.
The small stuff matters.
To me, a clean and attractive restaurant is the best indicator that the people running the show—at the restaurant, school, hotel, you fill in the blank, care about the people that use the facilities (and this includes the workers!). Make no mistake, the restroom screams commitment to excellence. It takes great leadership to ensure clean restrooms. If you want to be different—successful—a great place to start is your locker room (And here’s the kicker…each and every one of you will be running a show somewhere and sometime in the future.).
How do you and your teammates care for your locker room? Do you use it and wait for others (coaches, janitors, etc) to pick up the mess? To me, a clean and attractive locker room tells me the people running the program care (Come to think of it, the way you take care of your playing field, court etc. tells a lot about your commitment to excellence). If you’re a team leader then you’re running the program. We are all leaders.
The small stuff matters. What little things might you do today to make a big difference in your team?
Humility matters. Your actions reflect not only on you personally, but also on your team. Act in a manner that honors yourself and your teammates. Act in a manner that will reflect well on you and the others in your life.
Today’s headlines and daily news stories are filled with accounts of self-centered and irresponsible professional athletes. The world of sports often breeds excess—it is noble and ignoble, beautiful and ugly. Sports reveals the best and the worst of human nature in a highly visible action-packed arena dominated by intense emotion.
Humility is the quality of being respectful. It is displayed in conduct that dignifies others. Humility is found in the small stuff. How you talk to your teammates reveals your care and concern. How you listen to others reveals your commitment to them and your team. Leadership matters. And the best team leaders model humility, they serve and honor their teammates. We are all leaders.
Sometimes one minute makes all the difference.
How long does it take for you to care for your locker room? Your playing field? Your teammate? My guess is you can do a lot in one minute…and when all those small one-minute actions accumulate…
The small stuff matters. What little things might you do today to make a big difference in your team? Select at least one thing. And do it.
You can make excuses for not doing that one thing. If so, then excuses are probably small stuff to you. And remember, the small stuff matters. In the final analysis, it is the small stuff that determines what we draw out of sports and what we draw out of life. The little things make all the difference.
The Academy for Sport Leadership
To find out more about and order Sport Leadership Books authored by Dr. Dobbs including a Leader in Every Locker that this post was taken from, Click this link: The Academy for Sport Leadership Books
This article was written by Cory Dobbs, Ed.D., President of The Academy for Sport Leadership. The Academy for Sport Leadership is a leading educational leadership training firm that uses sound educational principles, research, and learning theories to create leadership resources. The academy has developed a coherent leadership development framework and programs covering the cognitive, psycho-motor, emotional and social dimensions of learning, thus addressing the dimensions necessary for healthy development and growth of student-athletes.
About the Author
Cory Dobbs is the founder and president of The Academy for Sport Leadership, a national leader in research‐based curriculum for coaches and student‐athletes. Dr. Dobbs is a college educator, a coach to successful coaches (helping coaches attain a higher level of success), and an accomplished human performance specialist whose expertise is in the field of leadership, team building, and creating a high‐performance culture in the arena of team sports. Cory blends social‐personality, psychology, and applied social psychology, which means he studies how people’s thoughts, behaviors, and preferences are influenced by both who they are and the situations they’re in. He uses Teamwork IntelligenceTM to help teams explore how the mix of perspectives brought by their individual members influences their work together.
About The Academy for Sport Leadership
The Academy for Sport Leadership is a leading educational leadership training firm that uses sound educational principles, research, and learning theories to create leadership resources. The academy has developed a coherent leadership development framework and programs covering the cognitive, psycho-motor, emotional and social dimensions of learning, thus addressing the dimensions necessary for healthy development and growth of student-athletes.
The Academy for Sport Leadership’s underlying convictions are as follows: 1) the most important lessons of leadership are learned in real-life situations, 2) team leaders develop best through active practice, structured reflection, and feedback, 3) learning to lead is an on-going process in which guidance from a mentor coach helps facilitate learning and growth, and 4) leadership lessons learned in sport should transcend the game and assist student-athletes in developing the capacity to lead in today’s changing environment.