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In the last post in this series, we started the conversation by asking the question of where winning falls in the list of priorities for a coach. Winning and losing will always be part of the game, but how important should it be?
In order to prioritize anything when it comes to coaching, we need to first ask the question: how do we define and measure success? Our definition of success is essential. It will govern our decisions, actions, and goals. It will also determine our priorities.
How do you define success? Winning percentage? This is probably the default measure of success for most of our athletic culture. Take baseball for instance. When asked how a weekend tournament went, what is the most common response? It is almost always the record for the tournament. Winning percentage is an easy way to measure success because it is tangible. One team scored more than the other, therefore the team who scored more is successful. 
But is winning percentage the best way to measure success? Is it even fair to measure it by winning percentage? What if a team played their best game of the year in a evenly matched game, and then lost at the last second? Is that team a failure? There are many things that play a role in the result of an athletic contest, many of which the players and coaches cannot control. That begs another question: is it fair to measure success by something that it out of the players and coaches control?
In measuring true success, John Wooden defined it best:
“Success comes from the peace of mind of knowing that you made every effort to become the best you are capable of becoming”
In other words, success = doing your best to reach your potential. 
Keep in mind, John Wooden won more games than any other coach during his era, and his teams at UCLA won an astonishing 10 national championships in a row. John Wooden’s teams won literally almost every game they played, and yet he did not define success by the wins and losses. He defined success as doing your best to reach your potential. 
Focusing on what you can control – the effort of doing your best – is a fair and healthy way to define success because every player and coach can give their best effort. You can’t always control the result, but you can control how hard you prepare and play. We would offer you, then, this definition as the true definition of success.

What do you think about this definition of success? Do you agree? Disagree? Why?