“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while..you don’t do things right once in a while… you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit” Vince Lombardi
Its a phrase that is always thrown around in sporting circles, but is there any substance to it?
From my own personal experience of playing in a really successful team, I learned that winning becomes addictive and when I see teams that record win after win, such as Chelsea recently in the premier league putting a run of 12 wins a row together,or the Dublin GAA team, I think back to what I experienced with that successful team and how winning became a habit for us.
In school I was fortunate enough to win an Ulster medal with a great bunch of lads, but thinking back on it now its strange how we all coped as a team that year and how our attitude towards games was something that at that time, I had never experienced before. I can’t remember being involved in a game that entire year where we didn’t know for a fact that we were going to win, be that in training when we were building up for the game, or if we were 3 points behind with 10 minutes to go, we knew that we would win.
We just expected to win, and as a result expected extremely high standards from everyone involved with the team, both at training and away from training, and we got them because no-one wanted to let the team down. From this, our training sessions were absolutely brilliant, tougher than any of the competitive games we played.
This all stemmed from winning. Every man on the team wanted to be involved in a winning team and so were giving it everything they had at training to try and make the team for the next game. This competition in training forced the players who had played in the previous game to be at their best in order to keep their place, because they knew if they didn’t there was a man biting at his heels to step right in and replace him.
This was what made the difference for us when games became tight, we never doubted we were going to win because that winning mentality developed from pushing each other in training was now ingrained in us, and we knew how hard we had all worked and how deep we were willing to dig for each other.
Going to those sessions after a day in school in the middle of the winter, pitch black dark with snow lying on the ground was a privilege and we could not wait for the bell to ring to get down the hill to the pitch, because we knew it was going to be the highlight of the day. I’m not sure this would be the case for a team on a losing streak, a few lads may well have forgotten their gear and slipped off home to sit in front of the fire, but for us, because of winning, we couldn’t wait to get out.
Winning brought about serious craic. Because we were doing so well it was all we ever wanted to talk about, and the only people we wanted to be with were our team mates because they were all involved and experiencing the same buzz of winning.
Winning brought us all ridiculously close and we would have done anything for each other, which obviously transferred onto the field. If one of us seen another man struggling, we would make a lung bursting run to help him out of a hole, because we knew if the shoe was on the other foot the exact same outcome would happen. The respect we had for each other was enormous because we were aware of the effort that each man had put in and the sacrifices he had made for us to be successful.
Winning becomes a habit because of the things that come with it. All experiences involved with winning are unreal and no-one wants them to end, and so they push harder, forcing everyone around them to improve. This brings about the result of continued success.
Some bunch of men. Up St Micks