“Work ethic” is a noun that we like to talk about as a verb; in fact, it’s an intangible noun. Webster’s defines it as a belief in work as a moral good. Have you ever heard a coach say something like this, “Where this is work ethic, there is success?” That seems like a pretty simplistic statement. Unfortunately, for too many, the notion of work ethic is trite, to say the least.
Indeed, to equate success to work ethic is simplistic; it is a very shallow and fast approach to a topic that must have more exploration. To reach success, we must make things simple (deep and fast; not hard to understand or do). We must consider the things we too often take for granted and convert them to complex (deep and slow) notions. Statements can be made complex by going deep and slow with your questioning. Simple comes from complex.
When I work with my hitters, I find myself saying, “Hard work pays off.”
When I say that to them, I’m trying to say something shallow and fast to get them to focus on the drill. But how often does that simplistic statement really work? And if it does, why? I mean, it’s too shallow, right?.
When you question a statement like, “work ethic leads to success,” try to imagine the scores of hitters you have coached over the years. Would you still say they had great work ethic if they failed to reach their full potential?
Truthfully, the statement, “work ethic leads to success,” is only half true. Remember, you can get a lot done with speed when things are simple (deep and fast).
In an effort to simplify this statement, here are six core values that must be in place in order to demonstrate work ethic.
Value No. 1 – Loyalty
“The mission gives you permission to say no. Enterprises and individuals are defined more by what they say no to than by what they say yes to. A well-focused team makes it a habit to defend the mission.” – Boyd Bailey
I want the players that I work with to be loyal to God, and thankful they have the physical and mental ability to participate in softball. I want them to be loyal to the mission of the team.
What is your team’s mission statement? It must clear enough so that players who don’t fit your desired profile won’t even show up for your tryouts.
Your mission must be something that people respond to and say, “That’s crazy.” Remember, most things that are crazy can be done. But things that are impossible can’t be done and won’t be attempted.
Your mission states your purpose and existence. For example, my mission statement for Diamond Directors is to provide amateur and professional athletes with the blueprint for success. The mission for my non-profit organization, L.E.A.D., is to empower an at-risk generation to lead and transform their city.
Value No. 2 – Teamwork
When loyalty for the organization is established, you can then start focusing on loyalty amongst your players. Loyalty exists where there is relationship. I want my players to be loyal to each other and this happens when they know each other. Make it a point to have your players spend quality time getting to know one another and your staff. Here are four questions that everyone on the team should answer collectively:
- In an effort to be a better teammate, what is one thing everybody should know about you?
- What is your biggest fear?
- What is the one thing you would change about yourself?
- What is one amazing thing about you that will help your team fulfill its mission?
This line of questioning calls for vulnerability, so be sure you have established a safe environment for sharing.
Value No. 3 – Stewardship
“Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Help your players to understand the importance of serving others. Do a service project together. Show them that helping others allows them to use their talents and skills in a different way. Helping others makes their community a better place.
As eHow contributor Alexandra Wright says, “When people work together for the good of others, they feel more connected to both themselves and others.”
When you aren’t a good steward of your talents, you hurt yourself and others.
Value No. 4 – Excellence
Simply put: fulfill your expectations. This process begins when the player knows what her coach expects of her. Qualifying and quantifying expectations makes excellence tangible and achievable. As your girls hit the required marks, this will build their self-confidence.
For example, if you expect the ball to be hit to the right side of the field on a hit and run, give them drills to help build this skill.
Value No. 5 – Humility
Softball is a difficult game that manages the high expectations of its players and coaches. Without humility, quitting becomes a viable option. Your drills should humble your players. If they work smart, they will develop the mental drive to master and develop the required skills to become an elite hitter. The best learning occurs when mistakes are made, when players push themselves; so push them until they break. Physical muscles are built by breaking them down so that they grow again. The brain is like a muscle in this respect as well; the harder you push your players to their breaking points, vital bookmarks can be formed that become a launching pad for success.
Value No. 6 – Integrity
As coaches, we fail our players miserably if all we do is stand around and talk. In order for your players to develop into elite athletes, coaches must spend enough time developing an interdependent relationship. Coach them to coach themselves, so you can naturally transition into a facilitator’s role. Integrity is fostered when you are given an opportunity to use it.
A closer look at ethic – Why building values matters
Work Ethic: n. noun (Webster’s New World Dictionary)
A system of values in which central importance is ascribed to work, or purposeful activity, and to qualities of character believed to be promoted by work; the belief in work as a moral good
Prior to my recent studies on the term “work ethic,” I always thought of it as a verb. Instead, work ethic describes the action associated with values that causes purposeful activity. With purposeful activity, things begin to get simple and you get things done with speed. I am grateful to John Maxwell for helping me to make my approach to developing elite athletes simple.
The essence of basics