The Highest Compliment I EVER Received!

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"I don't care how great, how famous or successful a man or woman may be, each hungers for applause."

George M. Adams

As coaches, we all work for the W's. It's the nature of the game, as well as in our own natures as human beings. We all want to succeed. We all want to win.

But sometimes, if we are lucky, we get to experience compliments far greater than the WIN. And as George M. Adams points out, this is what every one of us truly desires be noticed and appreciated for a job well done.


A father during a SportsLeader Father - Son jersey ceremony, "noticing" his son.


A wrestling coach related to me a story recently about this very type of applause he received. Indeed, in his 24 years of coaching, he admitted it was the highest compliment that he had EVER received....and it wasn't even from one of his own people!

His wrestling team was participating in a wrestling tournament, a tournament his team had participated in before. The team that year was better than average, having bought into the TEAM better than any other previous teams. They were good... but skill-wise they weren't the best wrestlers in the area. It didn't matter, however, because what they had was special. They wrestled hard and they supported each other's efforts win or lose.


Everyone of us craves AFFIRMATION and LOVE from people we respect and trust.


In the finals, nine of the fourteen weight classes were wrestling for 1st, 3rd or 5th place. The team was positioned to have a chance to win the tournament! Match after match seemed to go their way, ultimately with their wrestlers in the finals going 7-2. It seemed that every match had grown in excitement and emotion. The coach, himself, was delirious! And although the team fell short of winning(earning the Runner-Up trophy was just as celebrated!) everybody on the team felt like they had witnessed something even bigger than remarkable.

They were not alone.

After the award presentations, a parent/fan from another school walked up to the coach on the gym floor, looked him in the eye and said,

"I wanted to take the time to tell you, congratulations coach, your wrestlers were a joy to watch. It is so obvious that they wrestle FOR you.. that they really LOVE you!"

At that point, with tears welling in his eyes, this particular wrestling coach told me,

"It was the highest compliment I ever received."

tom ryan

Ohio State Head Wrestling Coach Tom Ryan(SportsLeader regular!) and some of the Buckeye wrestlers he loves.


Do you ACHE to make your players better? Do you stay up at night trying to figure out ways to make your players better? Do you AGONIZE over your players? Is it more about your players than it is about you? Do you live to make your players better.....whether it be through great drills, great encouragement, great constructive criticism......GREAT LOVE?

Some times people WILL notice all the love you put into your team, some times people won't. When people do notice and they tell you about is PRICELESS. And when people don't notice but you KNOW that what you are doing is what you are supposed to be is just as PRICELESS.

Give your players the highest compliment they can receive today by telling them you love them by the way you coach them. They'll never forget it.

More Than A Coach...SportsLeader!

*One of our SportsLeader members, Dwight Stephenson, and his family are mourning the passing of Dwight's mother-in-law on Tuesday. Please keep all of them in your prayers!