Build Habits First, Win Championships Second

At the start of every season I ask all my players to write down a few goals. I want to know what their personal, academic and team goals are. For many of them it’s the first time that they have been asked to put their goals down on paper.

Next, I ask them to list under each goal what are some of the actions and sacrifices that they are going to take/make in order to achieve their goals. After eight or ten minutes of writing we come together as a group to talk about their answers.

Every single year when we talk about team goals my players say theirs are to win the league championship and make the final four. This to me is not a surprise, as many come to my team with the expectation that they are going to be apart of a winning program.

However, after talking about the sacrifices and habits they are willing to make it makes me question whether or not we’ll win our league and make it to the Final Four. Today’s youth are so focused with the outcomes that they neglect the process that is going to take them there. I always end this part of the meeting with telling my players:

“Look at the goals that you wrote down. Do your actions match your goals? In other words, if you do all the things you listed under your habits will be successful in reaching your goals. If not, something needs to change. Either you can change your goals to meet your habits or change your habits to meet the goals. Your success and the team’s will depend on what you do”.

Champions Build Habits


As coaches, we have a huge responsibility to put the habits of our players into perspective for them. Many of the habits needed to win a league championship are the same habits needed to win in life.

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