Thank you to everyone that replied. We definitely have smart people on our email list and coaches, parents and athletes that ‘get it’.
The coach that interviewed me, when he asked the question:
‘What is the *one* characteristic that you would want all of your athletes to possess?’He was thinking my response would be along the lines of agility, the ability to accelerate fast, quickness, strength, etc.
All of those abilities are great, but in no way do I feel they are the most important. Because, as I said before, you can have the fastest athlete in the world, but it doesn’t mean they are going to be successful. And vice-versa, you can have a slow or weak athlete and they can have a great career.
Your responses were great, and you were thinking just like me:
– Fun (which is always important)
– Work ethic
These are all key components and I wish my athletes had them all.
But, if I had to pick only one characteristic, I would have to agree with Christi Smith and Shane.
It would be Discipline.
I think discipline encompasses a strong work ethic, determination, heart, coachability and the willingness to learn, etc.
Discipline is extremely important during practice and when they are in front of me, but it is more important when they are at home and away from my eyes.
There are some athletes that want to make their coaches happy and work hard every day at practice. They are very dedicated and want to get the most out of their workouts.
But, what happens when they go home?
Do they get enough sleep?
How are they eating?
Are they eating (and eating the right foods)?
Are they trying to learn more about their sport on their own?
If you don’t have enough time to get something in that you wanted to during a practice or want your athletes to get something done on their own, can you trust (be able to trust your athletes is a big deal) them to do it?
No matter what the skill level is of the athlete, if they are disciplined, they will be successful.
Also, you can help coach and create discipline. This is why coaching is an art. Being a coach, you can help create a supporting team atmosphere that breeds discipline. (Note: I am not saying you should coach military style and yell at your athletes and have them salute you.)
Plus, maybe best of all, if your athletes are discipline in their own sport in games and practices, 9.9 times out of 10, it will carry over into other parts of life.
So overall, if I could instill one characteristic in my athletes, it would be discipline.
Thanks again to everyone who responded!