“The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
This quote is one that I have referenced many times as both a lacrosse player and now as a coach. Throughout my life, people have often said to me “you are so lucky,” when talking about both my playing career and my profession. I often thought to myself, how did I get so lucky? When I was younger, I had the opportunity to play with some amazing people in club lacrosse who all worked hard, loved the game and, by my definition, were all also pretty lucky. We lived a good life, received a good education, played hard and with heart, had fun together, and almost all of us had the chance to play a sport in college. When I got to college, I felt like I got even luckier. I was still able to play the game that I love with even more people who thought and acted in ways that were similar to mine. It was a privilege to represent my university both on and off the lacrosse field, and I felt lucky every day to do that. Finally, as my playing days ended, I was lucky enough to be hired for a job in our profession with a team that reminded me each day how lucky I was to still be involved in the game. And now today, with another team, I continue to be reminded of how lucky I am to have the chance to do what I love every day.
But what is luck? Luck is defined as “good fortune; advantage or success, considered as the result of chance.” How do you make sure luck goes your way? In my opinion, it is not chance, but rather preparation. I am a firm believer that the more prepared you are, the more confident you are. Confidence then creates success and success generally creates this idea of luck. Seems like a fairly simple progression, but what areas need to be focuses of preparation in order to find luck? For me (and our program), everything is based on our attitude, effort and commitment to team.
When most people think of working hard, they generally think about running sprints in the summer knowing your season is still months away or getting that PR in the weight room when you thought there was nothing left to give. The skill that an individual works hard to develop is something that we as coaches could not and would not overlook; however, how much attention do we give to the intangibles?
While all of the physical training and work are key pieces to the everyday existence of a student-athlete, to me, the harder you work on your attitude, effort and commitment to team, the luckier you will be. Are you willing to go the extra mile even though it may not be the most convenient thing for you? Are you willing to put a smile on your face to make someone else’s day better even if all you want to do is complain in that moment? How much does your team trust that you will go above and beyond for them? How have you shown they can trust that? How hard are we working to become better leaders for our teams and in turn, how hard is our team working on those intangibles? We can spend hours upon hours trying to perfect a new defense, master a new ride or create the ultimate goal scoring play, but in the end, what kind of leaders are we creating? Ones that will feel like luck is on their side? That is always the hope and the chances (at least in my mind) increase when attitude, effort and commitment to team become the focus.
Every day we have the choice to become better, in whatever way seems appropriate to us. We can choose to bring a positive attitude to the day, we can choose to give our full effort to the day and we can always keep our focus on our team. Working hard on these areas is what helps the good become great. There are skills, genetics and maybe even some superstitions that sometimes improve everyone’s chances to find luck, but when attitude, effort and commitment to team become a part of our every day, there is no doubt luck will be on our side.