Pursley Pep Talks: 26 Attributes of a Champion

Swimming World will publish a collection of coaching perspectives written by Alabama head swimming coach Dennis Pursley. This is the third installment of a series that will be rolled out throughout the coming months.

ATTRIBUTES OF A CHAMPION
1. Recognizing Opportunity
Life is full of opportunities. Many of them come and go because we fail to recognize them. Champions will recognize the opportunities that are presented to them and will take full advantage of them.

2. Attention to Detail
Detail can be mundane and tedious. A champion knows that the “little things” can make a big difference in the final result.

3. Willingness to Strengthen our Weaknesses
Most of us are inclined to focus on our strengths and ignore our weaknesses. Champions capitalize on their strengths and focus strongly on eliminating their weaknesses.

4. Willingness to “Take it to the Limit”
Champions will test the boundaries in the pursuit of excellence.

5. Embracing a Challenge
Many people shy away from challenge. A champion will embrace it.

6. Confidence and Focus
A champion will compete with confidence and focus when others succumb to doubts and distractions.

7. Performing under Pressure
A champion will utilize pressure to enhance rather than suppress performance.

8. Positive Response to Failure and Disappointment
A champion will respond to failure and disappointment with a fighting spirit and increased determination, while others respond with shattered confidence and despondency.

9. Superior Preparation…
…begins with a strong work ethic and self discipline.

10. Uncompromised Commitment
A champion will find a way to do whatever it takes to be the best that he/she can be and avoid the things that will detract from this goal. All choices and decisions will be based on whether they will enhance or inhibit the probability of success.

11. Strength of Will:
Mental toughness and competitive tenacity.

12. Staying Positive over the Long Haul:
Realizing that every comment can make a difference.

13. Perseverance…
…in good times and in bad.

14. Handling Adversity and Overcoming Obstacles
* Resiliency, flexibility, adaptability.
* “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.”

15. Accepting Accountability and Responsibility
A champion understands that when we refuse to accept accountability and responsibility for our performances, we relinquish control of those performances.

16. Willingness to Sacrifice:
A “whatever-it-takes” attitude.

17. Recognizing that we are a part of something bigger than our individual aspirations
A unified effort will always accomplish more than the collective efforts of a group of individuals.

18. Service
* Focus on our neighbor (teammates) will bring the best out of us.
* “Success is measured not by what you have gained for yourself, but by what you have done for others.”

19. “Team-first” Attitude and Unconditional Support for the Team
* Support for the team even when we would prefer to do things differently.
* Willingness to make personal sacrifices for the sake of the team (with a smile!).
* Caring about our teammates and our team goals.

20. Appreciating the Honor and Privilege…
…of representing our country and accepting the corresponding responsibility to do so with class and good sportsmanship–in both wins and losses.

21. Humility and Gratitude
Recognition that in addition to our own efforts, our success is due to the gifts of talent and opportunity, together with the support of others.

22. Integrity
Dictionary synonyms: uprightness, soundness of character, moral wholeness, trustworthiness–be a man/woman of your word.

23. Relentless Commitment to the Pursuit of Excellence

24. Strength of Character…
…especially when put to the test.

25. Priorities, Principles and Values
* Consistent with your goals?
* Reflected in your thoughts, words and actions?

26. Understanding that true greatness is all about performing up to the best of our abilities and striving to become the best that we can be–as an athlete and as a person.

About Dennis Pursley
After getting his start as a volunteer coach on Don Gambril’s first Alabama staff, current Alabama head coach Dennis Pursley has gone on to one of the most extraordinary careers in the sport of swimming, a career that led him to be named one of the 25 most influential people in the history of USA Swimming in 2003.

Pursley has helmed coaching staffs throughout the world, including stops as the first head coach of the Australian Institute of Sport, the inaugural director of the United States National Team and most recently the head coach of Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic squad. Pursley returned to the deck in 2003 as the head coach of the Brophy East Swim Team in Phoenix Ariz., before becoming the head coach of British Swimming in 2008.

Pursley and his wife Mary Jo have five children, Lisa, Brian, David, Steven and J.J. Lisa and David have joined him on the Alabama staff.

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Author: Archive Team

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