• Tim Crone: Athletes must focus on what they can control

  • Time marches on and we all need to be prepared for change.

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  • Time marches on and we all need to be prepared for change.
    I have actually been on Facebook for the past six months and have admittedly felt a little like a duck out of water. However, I have to admit that I have enjoyed being back in touch with so many of my former student-athletes who are now from all over the country.
    They include student-athletes that I coached in Washington, Mo., Gillette, Wyo., Pleasant Hill and Blue Springs. The topic that stays the same across the board is the good times they experienced while competing in high school athletics and the way those experiences helped to positively shape their lives.
    The aging process has a way of increasing appreciation for positive life experiences. I am amazed how each athlete equates their success in life to the lessons they learned on the fields and courts. The goal of education is to teach – athletics should be an extension of lessons learned in the classroom. Many have commented that athletic competition taught them to control only the controllable and to refrain from worrying about situations that cannot be controlled.
    I pulled out some old notes I had in my files from Bruce Brown and a pamphlet he wrote called “Compete: Traits of an Elite Competitor.” I remember doling out these pearls of wisdom to our athletes over a period of several years. They included a discussion of situations in competition that can be controlled versus those that cannot. They include:
    1. Your opponent’s preparation
    2. Your opponent’s behavior
    3. Referee’s calls
    4. Winning or losing
    5. Weather
    I preached these points on a daily basis. First of all, the only preparation you ever need to be concerned with is your own. I always preferred to play the best – you have to prepare yourself to perform at your very best. It is impossible to predict the behavior of the other team under competitive pressure. The only answer is to “always take the high road.”
    A constant in society today is to complain about the officials and referees. The bottom line is that it wastes energy and opens the door for excuses to prevail. The focus needs to stay in the game.
    A difficult point to defend is winning versus losing. Most great competitors will advocate that more is learned from a loss than a win (in most situations.) Our society only cherishes a win, but a loss will teach corrections to compete in the next game. Sometimes you prepare properly and stay focused and you still lose. It will drive a true competitor to strive even harder. I have coached many teams who have won but I was totally disappointed because the team did not play to its potential. Some of my proudest moments were when a team lost but played above their potential against a superior opponent.
    Page 2 of 2 - Last but not least, you cannot control the weather so just PLAY!
    Great competitors possess three universal qualities – discipline, self-control and poise. Those qualities carry over from high school athletics to the real game of life.
    A quote from Winston Churchill says it all: “To every man there comes that special moment in his lifetime, when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to him and fitted to his talent; what a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified for the work which should be his finest hour.”
    n This has been a good high school season for all sports. The Kansas City area is becoming highly successful. Coaches and teams are realizing that success is a full-time way of life.
    n MLB umpires had a real bad week but you have to just keep playing.
    n Alex Gordon really has overcome some tough times to become possibly the best left fielder in baseball. The guy can get a jump!
    n I am still picking the Heat for the NBA championship. LeBron James has grown up and has become unstoppable. He learned the hard way to become the best competitor in the league.
    n My quote this week is from American businessman, Michael Friedsam, “Concentrate on finding your goal, then concentrate on reaching it.”

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