Recently I had a discussion with Sefu Bernard. He is a coaching colleague and has a TREMENDOUS blog at http://thellabb.blogspot.com/. We discussed the idea of being elite. He made the statement that people say they want to be elite or wanting elite results yet put in a mediocre effort.
I feel that there are definite levels to being elite. A player or coach can be an elite Junior High School coach but when they step up a level they fall back with the rest of the pack and must work their way back up.
We were an elite university program in Canada. Winning 85% of our games. 2 AUS titles and a CIS Silver Medal. Then came last year. We collapsed. Fell down a few notches. Why did this happen? Was it because of a lack of talent? We had plenty of talent on the roster. It all came back to mindset.
I tell our teams that if we want to be elite we must be elite in our thinking. Becoming good has so much to do with attitude and how you approach things. I try to set the example and show the kids that I am willing to work hard to help the team. They know that I watch tons of video and study the game so they seem to want to put in a little extra because of what I do. That little extra is what most people don't do. They look at talent and say that the player is ELITE when they may not have the right mindset. Jordan thought like an elite basketball player. Shawn Kemp may not have.
Last year we had a number of poor attitudes who did not permit themselves or the team to develop that elite mentality. The players don't become elite by putting on our uniform. The standards we set help them become more focused on being elite but it doesn't mean they will be. We slipped and now must fight to get back to elite status. People don't realize that "elite" is constantly changing.
Being elite is about having the proper mentality to work hard each day regardless of set back or distraction and preparing yourself to be successful when the opportunity comes. It starts in the mind. Problem is too many people are giving young players the wrong definition of elite.