What's your focus? The higher the competition, the more moral ground you lose. The pressure to win becomes greater and greater. I know. I have been a High School coach, then to NCAA Division 1 and then to Professional Head Coach in various countries.
If you want sports to build character, then you have to make it your priority in order for that to happen. You are going to have to be different.
AD's say I don't care what your philosophy is, you better win, or your fired. Just look at this past season with former coaches of the year award winners, fired. It never used to happen in college athletics, but that is the case, just this week with a couple losses, LSU fired their head coach. High School's are now doing this as well.
You have to reshape your focus so that you can stay with this teaching point of character development.
Character drives performance.
The better you are with your character the better you are going to perform because you understand what life is all about and you'll be able to understand failure better, because it comes for everyone.
So what if you were paid to build the character of your players, what would you do? Things would change, because I hear coaches say that they are paid to win. Look the other way when things go wrong, just deal with the task at hand which is win only.
Ask yourself this question.
Why did you get into coaching?
Was it to win titles, to win championships?
Many say that is the only reason, but I don't think so. I believe you probably had a coach in your life at one point who made a difference in your life. I know I did. Coach Fimbres in Tucson, Arizona where I grew up, took an interest in me as a person and developed my character which then led to me becoming a better player because I was taught and developed about what things meant and to keep them in perspective. In essence, to have priorities.
You held those coaches in such high regard because of the impact that they had on your life that you would love to leave a similar legacy to others.
This is why you were drawn into the profession. To make a real difference in the lives of other people.
Many coaches along my journey have said which coach do you want to be? What do you want written on your tombstone? One that says how many wins you had? Or the other than said the impact you left with those that you coached?
Which one would you choose?
Think about who are you becoming? Are you putting the person first, athlete second. The real story that is going to matter is what you become as a coach as a result of being under all that pressure.
Who have you become as a coach?
Who have you become as a result of the chase?
Are you more humble or a bigger ego? More open or more defensive? More stable or more fragile? Happier or less happy?
Who have your players become as a result of the chase in their experience with the sport?
Are they more respectful or less respectful? More grateful or less grateful? More confident or less confident? More open or more defensive?
You have to make sure that your players experience great things along this chase. That's what you are chasing first and foremost. You make this the game. This is how you hold yourself and your players accountable. Wins and losses, come and go, who you become stays with you.
You need to know where are you going? Why are you a coach? That's your purpose? But then you need to know, who are you becoming? That's the real truth.
Help your players find their purpose, help them face the truth, help them do things that get them closer to seeing who they are now and who they want to become ultimately as a human being.
That's the role of you as the coach.