Coaches are important educational leaders in our schools, communities, and universities. The Sport and the Growing Good (SGG) podcast provides embedded, front-line insights on winning and positive development. The SGG podcast can be heard here and on all major podcast platforms.
Jay Bilas authored the book Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off the Court. He provides a detailed analysis of specific aspects of toughness, including what it looks like in a sports setting and how it can be developed. Jay draws upon his experiences as a Duke basketball player, as an attorney, and as a commentator for ESPN to shed light on multiple dimensions of toughness. Coaches of all levels can find meaningful insights in Jay’s book. In this SGG episode, we discussed: 1. The impact that a drama teacher had upon him: “He was as influential upon me as any coach I’ve ever had.” 2. What he learned through public speaking and forensics competitions as a high school student. 3. The role his mom played in requiring him to take on uncomfortable challenges – including ballroom dancing. 4. John Ebeling, “the toughest guy I ever played against…When I played against him I realized, ‘that’s what I should aspire to be.’” 5. Growing in toughness through your teammates: “toughness is contagious.” 6. Duke teammate David Henderson’s competitive spirit: “You were going to try to match him because of the amount of respect you had for the way he went about things…You didn’t want to let him down in that regard.” 7. “Whether you’re the best player or the last person on the depth chart, you can raise the level of your organization by your performance and by the way you do your role.” 8. On former Duke player Grant Hill: “You can be incredibly tough and incredibly nice at the same time…He had a wonderful balance of being a cut-throat competitor when he was playing and then being the nicest, most thoughtful, and polite person you could ever meet.” 9. Being smart about playing – or not playing – through pain. 10. The importance of saying no: “Sometimes the most important word in your life is no. And in order to say yes to your priorities, there are times you need to say no to other things.” 11. “Sometimes it’s the tough thing to do to sit out and take care of yourself the right way.”