If you have not yet read Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off the Court by Jay Bilas, I highly recommend you do. It is one of the best books I have ever read. So good in fact that it gave me the idea to share all of my favorites quotes and moments from the book. Below you will find that each Chapter and Section is marked to give you a reference of the topic the “quote” came from. Anything not in quotations is a direct remark from Jay Bilas himself.
I hope you enjoy what I have shared. It is only about 1% of what the book brings to life, but hopefully it is enough to convince you to read it in entirely.
Toughness is Defined
Toughness isn’t physical. It has nothing to do with size, physical strength or athleticism. It’s an intangible, an attitude, a philosophy…I believe that true toughness is a skill that can be developed and improved in everyone.
Toughness is a descriptor of how much energy a material can absorb before breaking. Being tough is being Unbreakable!
Coaching Mental Toughness
“Toughness is doing what it takes to make a difference.” – Tom Izzo
Duke and USA National Team Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski spoke to a group of Army officers and soldiers several years ago at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. While the video is over an hour and a half long, it is full of off the chart material and I am going to share one very cool concept he used to emphasize teamwork with United States National Team.
Most of us are blessed to have five fingers on our hands. Coincidently there are five players on the court at a time for a basketball team. Coach K used this example,
If you hold your hand out with all five fingers flexed (spread) out and try to punch someone, you will cause yourself an extraordinary amount of pain and possibly break some fingers. However, if you make a fist with all five fingers (together), you can really make a powerful punch.
Furthermore, each finger represents a special component in order for teams to truly work together.
1. Communication: Look each other in the eye when speaking with one another.
2. Trust: Tell the truth ALL of the time.
3. Collective Responsibility: We win together and we lose together.
4. Care: Have each others’ back.
5. Pride: Be a part of something bigger than yourself.
Do yourself a favor and watch the entire video for yourself. I guarantee you will come away more educated and help you become a better basketball coach and more importantly a better person.