How Does Your Team Measure Success

After suffering a hard-fought, last-second loss in a game which the Detroit Lions played really well, rookie Head Coach Rob Marinelli had the following to say in his first post game press conference.

“It’s not good enough… I’m not interested in playing hard and well; I’m interested in winning. There’s no option, there’s no solution other than winning. That’s it; I wont accept anything less….I’m not going to throw them a rose and say ‘good job’” (page 65 Coaching Myths by Rick Albrecht)

11999067_814350125345557_938680990403020720_n (1)It’s important to note here that this was the first game of not only the season but of Marinelli’s head coaching career and it was against the defending NFC Champions.

Contrast Marinelli’s remarks with those of Chuck Noll, the only NFL Head Coach to win 4 Super Bowl Titles. “I would rather play well and lose than play poorly and win.”

In my mind John Wooden is the greatest coach of all time in any sport. Here’s Wooden’s thoughts on winning verses mastery.

“I never mentioned winning or victory to my players. I never referred to ‘beating’ an opponent. Instead I constantly urged them to strive for the self-satisfaction that always comes from knowing you did the best you could to become the best of which you are capable. That’s what I wanted: The total effort. That was the measurement I used, never the final score.”

Marinelli’s message after his teams first game, a game in which they turned in an outstanding effort and performance, was your best is not good enough. Wooden’s message on the other hand was your best is always good enough.

Marinelli was fired after three season with a record of 10-38 and the infamous 0-16 season; the worst performance in the entire history of the NFL.

The Positive Coaching Alliance, an organization I am a big fan of, teaches about the importance of the mastery approach. Not only is it a healthier approach for youth players and produce better athletes, but a 2000 study at the Sydney Olympics reviled that athletes coached from a mastery mindset won significantly more metals than those coached in a scoreboard approach. I encourage you to click here to learn more about a mastery approach.