I’ve learned over the years that the best players, the best coaches, the best leaders I’ve been around – people who can sustain elite success – have one thing in common: perspective. They all have the ability to handle everything that comes their way – good and bad – with the right amount of balance. They have a particular way of looking at things that allows them to take what they do very seriously, but not take themselves too seriously. We often use the term “he just gets it” as a way of explaining it without being able to explain it.

The way I see perspective translate to players on the court is a balance between competitive edge and composure. Compete-level is usually the first thing I notice in a player, and it’s the thing I’m most attracted to. I love watching anyone compete at a high level on matter what they are doing. But the elite players are able to balance that with composure, and that’s not easy to do. You compete with an edge, you give everything you have on every play, but then when things don’t work out you handle it. A big part of being a great competitor is showing the composure necessary to handle everything and move on to the next play.

Creating a competitive environment around your program is essential. You want there to be competition in everything you do, so your kids see it and feel it every day. Time the sprints and the conditioning sessions and keep track of progress. Have your players count makes and misses in shooting drills so they can try and beat their numbers every time. Keep score of pick-up games. Make your drills in practice competitive.

You also have to keep that competitive edge in the right perspective, and your kids will follow your lead on that. You can demand an elite level of competitiveness out of them every day without making the results seem like life or death. If you don’t react emotionally to the results, your team won’t either. The right perspective is something they see every day, and they can absorb. They will look to you on how to handle the positives and the negatives that come along throughout the season.

Competitive edge and composure. When you find guys who show you both, get them on your team. When you are coaching your team, show your guys both so they can see the behavior. Players and teams who are elite competitors and have great composure have what it takes to sustain elite success.