The University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball teams won their NCAA basketball championships this year. The women were undefeated in the regular season, dominating much of their competition. The men’s team started more slowly, and progressively improved until they peaked right at the time of the tournament. Despite being in a league with less competition and name recognition, the Huskies prevailed. The men overcame not only the odds but also most people’s low expectations to win the National Championship. A truly inspiring story.
The teams have been successful for several years. Including this year’s championships, the men have won four championships, and the women have won nine. As a Connecticut resident, I have watched these teams go from obscurity to major success. I am proud of these men and women, and proud of their coaches. Here are three things that we can learn from the Huskies continued success.
1. It’s all about the work you do when no one is looking
The game is just an extension of what you do every day in practice. Practice hard, and practice smart. Drill the fundamentals every day, no matter how good you are. Break the complex down to small pieces and practice them until you can execute flawlessly and consistently. Then step up the pace and put the pieces together. Execute plays again and again until they are almost instinctive.
2. Pay attention to the details
This is related to the first key. Every detail matters. Focus on the details as they occur. Do not think about the end of the game, or even five minutes from now. Focus on the details NOW. Pay attention to what you are doing right now. Once it is gone, keep moving forward and focus on the next moment.
3. The team is more important than the individual
UConn recruits great players. Many have been superstars in their high schools, and the focal point of their teams. At UConn, the individual is less important. What matters most is how the team functions together. Each has their role and the team expects them to be at the right place at the right time. They can trust their teammates to execute for the good of the team. Those who do not play unselfishly are quickly benched. Result? The team is stronger than the sum of the players.
Question: What do you do when no one is looking? What is the secret behind your success? To leave a comment, click here.