Developing “Toughness”

I am very fortunate to be at a school where all varsity coaches, in all sports, both men’s and women’s squads, have bought into the strength and conditioning program.  Between the 220 students that are enrolled in the strength training classes at school, and the athletes that lift after school as part of an off-season program, we have over 300 student-athletes a day come through our weight room.  When all the coaches have the same expectations regarding the program, it makes real gains and success possible.

BILL SELFOur girl’s basketball coach, Steve Cassity, and his team  just finished a remarkable season – a 25-1 record and an undefeated conference championship.  Last spring he shared the following with his returning players.  Coach Cassity referenced an article about Bill Self of KU in which he stated the only basketball-related issue he (coach Self) won’t joke about is toughness, which is the most essential theme to Self’s coaching philosophy.  Coach Cassity had this to say to his girls about toughness:

Toughness

A great place to develop mental and physical toughness is in the weight room.  Lifting weights requires discipline, sacrifice, dedication, pain, fatigue, and teamwork.  Working through this adversity builds physical and mental toughness.

You cannot simply talk about toughness.  A coach cannot talk you into being tough.  You cannot just want to be tougher.  You cannot just play more basketball.  You have to pay the price to earn toughness. The big games we will play next year are being won and lost right now in the weight room.  Critical games we hope to win in March are won in the previous March as you prepare your body and mind to compete with real toughness. Are you paying the price?  Are you earning the big wins?

So many athletes miss out on real success because success “wears a weightlifting belt and smells like sweat.” We have a chart posted of those who are lifting and those that are not.  Earn the respect and confidence of your teammates and coaches by getting in the weight room four days per week.  Lift side-by-side with your teammates.  Walk into next season with the confidence of knowing that you and your teammates have prepared yourself mentally and physically for competition.  Don’t hope, wish, or want for real success.  Go earn it.

Being in the weight room with your teammates is about more than just working out and getting stronger.  It is also about getting tougher, more confident, and “going into next season with the confidence that you are your teammates have prepared yourself mentally and physically for competition.”.  You and your teammates are developing mettle; You are in the forge being smelted; You are  becoming steel!  (see Mettle, Metal and Adversity)

Congratulations to Coach Cassity and the Truman Girls Basketball team for earning real success!

Bonus Content – You can see a video about the KU Basketball Strength and Conditioning program here:

Your comments and questions are always welcome!

Jeff Floyd – youcandomore1@yahoo.com

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5 thoughts on “Developing “Toughness”

  1. Love this article. It reminds me of high school when the 2 most physically gifted kids I’ve ever played with(including college) never spent a day in the weight room during the summer and coasted through our in season lifting programs while a select few of us went every day and worked as hard as we could. In my opinion certain lifts require more toughness than others. Squats > Cleans > Above head presses > Bench Press. Anyone can bench press, but it takes a certain mindset and toughness to put that bar on your back and keep working up the weights!

    Great article.

    • Thanks for your comment, Miles. I agree… I always tell my classes that you can go into any 24 hour fitness or YMCA and see 50 people bench pressing, but hardly any squatting or cleaning… why? they are HARD!

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