Sport Leadership Insights | Success

Sport’s very simplicity is the perfect antidote to the complexities and pressures of an often ambiguous and uncertain world of business. An important part of this simplicity is that sporting success is easy for all to see and understand. It requires no detailed explanation, nor does it demand academic research or analysis to reveal.

In sport, success is generally understood to be to win.

  • Success is winning the championship and nothing else counts

Popular amongst coaches and commentators are the longer-term perspectives that define sporting success in more prosaic terms.

  • Success is improving the performance of an athlete or team over time and winning the championship on some occasions
  • Success is developing a talented athlete or team over time and being competitive

When examining success traits, O’Neill in his book ‘The Paradox of Success’ makes reference to a number of traits from a positive standpoint:

  • Success demands confidence - a positive self-image is an immeasurable asset
  • Success is aided by speed - an admirable quickness of mind
  • Success requires alertness - the capacity to scan widely
  • Success calls for dedication - sacrifices of leisure time
  • Success needs courage - for risk taking

It is almost impossible to determine which perspective-the short term or the longer term- is the more legitimate definition of sporting success.

The sentiment ’success is a state of mind’ could apply to most pursuits in life especially for leaders and athletes in sporting organisations.

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