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Saint Peter's Basketball: A Lesson on True Toughness

I don't know about you, but I ABSOLUTELY LOVED watching the #15 seed Saint Peter's men's basketball team upset #2 Kentucky and #7 Murray State in the NCAA tournament last weekend ... even if it did mean blowing up my bracket! 🤣 I had predicted that UK would go all the way to the national championship game. 🤦🏼‍♂️ #BracketBusted

After the Peacocks 🦚 (great mascot, right?!?!) beat Murray State, a reporter asked Saint Peter's head coach Shaheen Halloway how his team stayed calm when other teams tried to push them around. In his response, Halloway talked about the toughness of his team and how they practice and play with that same mentality, especially since their opponents are often the bigger, stronger-looking team.

The soundbite of his response is definitely an all-time classic (you can hear it in its entirety by clicking here), and it really got me thinking, what is toughness, really?

So here's my working definition of what toughness really is ...

Toughness: Being willing to give your best effort,

even when you know failure is an option.

When you think about it, that's the exact attitude Saint Peter's has embodied so far in the NCAA tournament. They couldn't control their seeding, their opponents, the location of their games, the referees, etc. All they could control were things like their effort, their response to mistakes, their body language, how coachable they were going to be, etc.

That's a lesson that we can all learn from this team. Toughness is a mentality and a habit that we should all work on developing! If you're ready to level up your toughness, here are a couple of areas to start focusing on:

  • Control what you can control.

  • Don't compare yourself with others, compete to be the best you can be.

  • Stop whining, and start overcoming.

  • Choose to be coachable in all situations. This one applies to coaches, too!

  • Find a way to sacrifice for someone else, every day.

  • Value a growth mindset instead of a fixed one.

And as you begin to make these characteristics a daily habit, don't be surprised when you start winning games and overcoming obstacles that others thought you would never be able to do!

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