It wasn’t until many years into his coaching career that Pete Carroll really settled into his philosophy—the system by which he built his teams, and his athletes around. It seems simple but it’s actually a profound one. As he describes it: Always compete. Compete.
Isn’t that what sports are about? Where’s the innovation there?
According to Carroll, competition isn’t about beating someone or something. It isn’t some contest between two opposing individuals, groups, or teams. It isn’t a zero-sum game. It isn’t something you do on Sundays. Competition, Carroll says, is all about doing your best. It’s striving to reach your potential. It’s focusing on doing “things better than they have ever been done before.” That’s the mentality a competitor approaches every day with: Am I better today than I was yesterday? Yes? Then I won.
Your job as a dad—whether you coach one of their teams or not, whether they play sports or not—is to help instill this mindset in your kids. They have to learn how to compete. Every day. In everything. We’ve talked about Jeannie Gaffigan and her husband Jim, how they started competing as parents, seeing who could get the kids to bed fastest, or get up earliest to make breakfast. We’ve talked about how your kids will rise to the level of your expectations—and that’s true for their expectations of themselves too.
No one gets better just because. Getting better takes work. Improvement requires drive. Winning requires competing. Well, are you teaching them that? More importantly, are you modeling that?
Kids need opportunities to compete. They need contests to better themselves in—whether it’s trying to memorize every state capitol faster than they did yesterday or running across the yard more times than they did last time. They need to grow up in a house where everyone is trying to grow somehow, in something. Where everyone is expected to perform at their best.
If you can make that happen, they’ll be a winner.