Character: The Cornerstone of Excellence

The most fundamental factor which determines a person’s destiny is his character. It is the cornerstone built from a person’s life choices. This cornerstone of character will provide a foundation which will not crumble when the pressure is on. It is the internal substance that produces excellence in one’s life. 

What is Character? 
To scratch and engrave the attributes and features that make up an individual
Why is Character important? 
It’s the greatest determinant for handling adversity and achieving one’s success
Who develops Character?
Athletics doesn’t build Character, Coaches do
Where is it developed?
It begins in your heart by repeatedly  scratching and engraving
When is Character revealed? 
The Locker Room, competition, and when difficulty arises
How is it developed?
Want It, Live It, Train It, Reward It


Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines character from the Greek word “charassein” which means to “scratch and engrave”; and also “the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual. “My dad, Gene Masters (who was a head varsity football coach for 44 years) had a very simple way to define character, “Know What is Right - Do What is Right.”  I prefer to add to that, “when no one is looking.” 

Character and Coaches:

Coaches realize that character is crucial for success. Former Dallas Cowboy Coach, Tom Landry, stated this regarding character, “Character is the most determining factor of a person’s success and the ability to handle adversity.” Many coaches endeavor to integrate character into their programs.  However, few have a specific plan.  CTA has developed a Character Playbook to help encourage, equip and empower coaches to develop the heart and character of their athletes.

Value of Character

Physical training is of some value, but character has value for all things. The heart is the source of life, the very core where one’s character is seated. It is with your heart that you believe; consequently, belief defines your thinking which directs your choices which determine your character and is demonstrated in your behavior. Talent united with character will lead to excellence while talent minus character brings about deficiency.

The Difference in Character
Based on John Maxwell’s Your Road Map for Success

Does what is easiest
Controlled by moods
Looks for excuses
Quits when challenged
Relies on external motivation
Words and actions do not match
Choices add up to failure

Does what is right
Controlled by values
Looks for solutions
Perseveres when challenged
Relies on internal motivation
Words and actions match
Choices add up to success

“Destiny is not by chance but is revealed through a person’s everyday choices! “There is a choice you have to make in everything you do. So keep in mind in the end the choice you make makes you.”

— John Wooden

Character will only make you and your team better!  

An Athlete of Integrity will compete with confidence and security. The ones who take crooked paths or shortcuts will be found out. Coach the heart this year and make it your vision and passion  to coach them for life beyond the contest. 

In the end leadership is a choice either to use people to build your authority or use your authority to build people. The true leader seeks to lighten the loads that people carry. They understand this principle: whoever desires to be great must humble themselves and serve those they lead.

A Little Fellow Follows Me:
A careful man I want to be A little fellow follows me; I do not dare go astray, For fear he’ll go the self-same way. I cannot once escape his eyes, Whate’er he sees me do he tries; Like me he says he’s going to be, The little chap who follows me. He thinks that I am good and fine, Believes in every word of mine; The base in me he must not see, The little chap who follows me. I must remember as I go, Through summers sun and winters snow; I’m building for the years to be That little chap that follows me.” (Found in “Greatest Coach Ever John Wooden”)