LSU long time assistant Bob Starkey has a great blog. One particularly good one is titled, 8 Traits That Corrupt Chemistry by Rick Pitino.
Here is an excerpt:
6. Lack of passion:
If you cannot sense the energy and excitement from people you’re trying to recruit or hire, they might not have it. They should be passionate and driven enough to know what they want—to have goals and expectations and to articulate what they’ll do to meet them. One year I asked one of my players what he wanted to accomplish outside of basketball. This player, at the end of his junior year, responded, “I don’t know.” I dismissed him from my office and told him to come back the next day with something better. I told him I don’t deal with I-don’t-know people. At age 22, young people should have some plans and ideas, or at least be searching for help in creating them. I-don’t-know people wallow in mediocrity. People lacking passion don’t enthusiastically seize every opportunity to improve themselves. They love what success could bring them, but they don’t want to put in the hard work it takes to become successful.
• How to prevent a lack of passion: Make your own passion a beacon for others to follow and emulate. If you’re not boiling with observable enthusiasm, those around you might not, either. Try to surround yourself with high achievers. Celebrate the grind. When hard work yields results, point it out—loudly, if necessary. During the long hours, remind your people that it will pay off in the end—cheerfully, if possible.
7. Excuse making:
When someone goes wrong, it’s never their fault. They’ll point fingers in all directions except at the person in the mirror. College basketball players will blame teachers for shortcomings in the classroom, referees for bad calls, teammates for not getting them the ball. I always tell my guys that failure is OK if they own up to it and use it as fertilizer to make things better. I tell them excuses are a sign of weakness, and weakness won’t be tolerated.
• Channeling Bill Parcells once again: You are your record.
The front-runners are at their best when everything is going their way. It’s easy to be upbeat and positive when you’re playing well and your team is winning—but how do you respond when times aren’t so good? Sports and business are full of people who can ride a wave of positive momentum, but aren’t so good when they have to generate momentum in the face of opposition or adversity. They tire mentally and physically and are bypassed by their competition. They become self-satisfied too easily.
• How to prevent front-running: Keep the hammer down during good times. My halftime speeches are always more volatile and demanding when we’re ahead—players will take criticism more easily in that setting, and they’ll stay on task. When we’re behind, I try to be more analytical, calm, and upbeat. When we have a double-digit lead late in games, I’ll tell my team during timeouts that the scoreboard doesn’t matter; we’re tied, and I want to win the next four minutes by the next media timeout. I create a game within a game, trying to keep the pressure on them to rely on their fundamentals and do what we’ve coached them to do. Keep your own emotions on an even keel, and maintain your discipline. If you get overly comfortable when things are going well, it’s a signal to others to let their guard down and relax.