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Repeating Success

Winning a championship is incredibly difficult to do. Even more difficult is winning back-to-back titles, and those who have done so possess a rare insight that all coaches can benefit from.

An expert on this topic is Bo Banson, a former Olympic rower from Australia and founder of Athlete Assessments, which specializes in explaining sports-specific behaviors and the DISC theory. In an article on Athlete Assessments, Banson explains how going back-to-back is a direct result of “planned success.” “And planned success is so much sweeter than unplanned or surprising success,” says Banson. “In each case, these teams executed their plans to perfection.”

According to Banson, there are three key areas that coaches should focus on when preparing to attempt back-to-back championships:

“How do We Measure Ourselves?”

In this first hurdle, coaches must find a way to overcome “the feeling of completion” his or her team may settle into after winning a title once. “Often in their minds they have achieved a natural point of closure,” explains Banson. “This goes even further as many teams feel they have reached the pinnacle of their respective competition.”

To combat this, Banson believes “the most critical aspect” of going back-to-back—and beyond—is that coaches create loftier expectations of the team than the number of wins. “It could be the goal of creating a team that will be spoken about for years to come,” says Banson, “or it could be about taking time to reflect on the team’s performances as both individuals and a team and to ask themselves if this is as good as they can ever be.”

“Did We ‘Close’ the Season?”

Though it relates to the first point, this is a vital focal point to not miss. “Teams must feel they can move on after successful seasons,” says Banson. “Often what happens is when you win, the team gets caught up in celebrating, being pulled in different directions by family and media commitments and they never get to close their season.

“It is therefore critical to spend time reviewing the team performance, learning what worked well this season and what needs to be done better next time,” he continues.

“It will just ‘Happen Again"

Says Banson, “Many athletes forget that this is a new season, new challenges and the opposition are more motivated, often with an axe to grind against them.”

Therefore, coaches must set a clear narrative that reflects their standards and motivates the team to new heights every season. “They need to look at the markers they measured themselves against and review the effort that delivered their first win,” says Banson. “They need to remember how hard it was trying to win once. They need to recall the tough practices and the things they went without to be the best.

“If teams spend time doing this, the question then becomes not whether they can win again,” concludes Banson, “but whether they are willing to do what it takes to win again.”

Click here to read the full article.

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