Besides the fact that Pete Carroll has a pretty cool last name, he’s got a strong philosophy that serves as the foundation for how he coaches his team. He describes everything about this philosophy in his book Win Forever. One of the great pieces of advice a player or coach can take from the Win Forever philosophy is the creation of a personal philosophy.
So what is a personal philosophy? It’s your personal belief system that guides your thoughts and actions.
Why is a personal philosophy important?
I ask a lot of players what holds them back from playing their best during games. Keeping in mind that we cannot control whether we make every shot and shouldn’t use statistics as the only judgment of “playing our best”; I wanted to get down to the main reason why players feel motivated, excited, and confident some games – and not so motivated, excited, and confident other games.
One common theme from a majority of the responses is lack of focus. A lack of focus can be caused by two things: (1) the player doesn’t have something specific to focus on, or (2) the player has too many things to focus on. They both go hand-in-hand.
Pete Carroll’s idea of a personal philosophy solves a couple of issues: (1) it simplifies our focus by having one thing to focus on, and (2) it keeps us moving in the right direction (a direction which we internalized and believe in).
The power of focus can be a huge advantage for players to help them exude an attitude of excitement, purpose, and confidence on the court.
Think about this metaphor to understand the power of focus. The sun’s rays can warm the earth. But when you take a magnifying glass and focus the sun’s rays on a specific object (like a leaf) it can burn right through it. The intensity of the rays become much more powerful when they are focused on ONE thing. Think about the power of your actions when you are focused on only one thing.
Pete Carroll’s personal philosophy is simple: “ALWAYS COMPETE”. This statement should serve as the compass to guide every decision he makes as a coach. When things become tough during the season, which they always will, Pete’s personal philosophy can help guide him to keep his actions in alignment with his purpose.
So what do you focus on when you get on the court? During a game, players can become distracted by tons of things, especially when we start to play bad (as a team or individually). Having a personal philosophy can help a player gain clarity during all the ups and downs within a game or a season.
Below is an excerpt from an article that describes Pete Carroll sharing the idea of a personal philosophy during a conference for military leaders.
Carroll kicked off the talk with a tactic he uses for many of his motivational speeches. To stress the importance of having a philosophy and knowing it, Carroll asked the people packed in the hotel ballroom to raise their hands if they had a personal philosophy. About half the attendees raised their hands.
Then he asked how many of those who raised their hands could recite their philosophy in 25 words or less. By then, only a small handful of people still had their hands up.
“What Coach gave to the group is that philosophy is everything, that philosophy is key,” said Fautua, the research coordinator at U.S. Joint Forces Command.
“It really made me reflect about ‘what is my personal philosophy?’ ” said Major Gen. Jason Kamiya, director of joint training and commander of the Joint Warfighting Center at Joint Forces Command and who is now in his 33rd year in the military. “It gave us all a wake-up call that as we begin this effort to raise the bar of excellence in small units, we better know what our philosophy is.”
Check out the whole article at: http://news.usc.edu/#!/article/27309/Pete-Carroll-Inspires-the-Armed-Forces
This little excerpt shows the impact that having a personal philosophy had upon the military officers.
So what’s your personal philosophy…in 25 words or less? In other words, what keeps you moving in the right direction.
To learn more about Pete Carroll’s philosophy and the type of culture he’s building with the Seahawks, check out this article from ESPN the Mag:
If you read the ESPN article…What do you think about this “new age” of coaching? Is this the future??