Director of Sport | Mr Damian Wright
Ric Charlesworth, coach of the Hockeyroos, has often been asked to speak to organisations and businesses regarding the core values that underpinned the Hockeyroos’ success. Sport, he says, has an imperative of being the best, which serves to mobilise resources and energies. It is this focus on being the best that is the foundation of the philosophy and behaviours of champion teams. It requires some of the important ingredients which can transform good practice into best practice.
Best teams know quality, they practise it; they stand for it and can reproduce it under pressure.
Training and work ethic
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit”. Training at the edge of one’s capacity ensures that improvements are made – to get an appropriate training effect you must train harder than the game.
For team success, individuals must be able to cope with changes and be able to do more than one job. The Hockeyroos were expected to play on the right, or left, to defend and attack.
Growth through adversity
Athletes, the good ones, learn from their mistakes, and grow in stature and experience from adversity. Ability to analyse and evaluate is crucial and mistakes should be considered learning opportunities.
Breadth of leadership
All members of a team and their ability to contribute must be valued. Every member of the Hockeyroos was encouraged to behave like a leader. That didn’t mean giving orders but it meant taking responsibility and ownership of getting their jobs right and for the team working cooperatively.
The Japanese call it ‘kaizan” – an attitude of continuous improvement. The Hockeyroos were encouraged to have their eyes peeled for ideas. One can always learn from other sports, other teams, opponents, other coaches and other areas of human endeavour.
Willingness to put the team first
Brilliant individuals can never make a difference in team games unless they are also an integral part of the structure of the team. Without cooperative, coordinated strategies that utilise individual abilities for the team’s good, you will not get the best outcome.
May 1961 was when JF Kennedy made his famous speech about his nation’s goal of landing on the moon. He stated, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do other things not because they are easy but because they are hard”. He then went on to say the most relevant statement “That goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our abilities and skills”.
Unquestioningly a shared set of goals and a thorough plan implemented and evaluated progressively underpin the best achievements in sport.
Open and honest communication allows players, coaches, parents and administrators to know where they stand; what they stand for; what is expected of them and what the consequences may be of their performances and behaviour. Trust between such groups can only be earned through honesty. Honesty with one’s self, of course, is a principle of the best performers.
This core value follows on from honesty. It is a quality that supports diligent training, a positive approach to learning and improvement and disciplined play and lifestyle.
Charlesworth sums up his explanation of why the Hockeyroos were so successful when he said:
Humility, a sense of your own vulnerability and an honesty about your performance and training are central to continued excellence, for they fuel the wish to keep improving and learning which are crucial if your enterprise/team is to grow and develop. If you think you know all the answers my response is to look deeper. You will always find room for improvement.