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A Back-to-School Message About Attitude, Energy, and Enthusiasm

Jay Wright is a Hall of Fame basketball coach. He coached the Villanova men's basketball team to 2 national championships and 4 final fours.

In a speech that you can watch below, Coach Wright told a group of Villanova Alumni that he teaches his athletes that the number characteristic they can have is a positive attitude.

Your attitude is the thinking or feeling you have about someone or something, and it is shown and reflected in your behavior.

Jay Wright says, “We want our guys to understand that the greatest characteristic you can have is a great attitude. It’s a choice you have - every day - when you get up. There are things you can’t control. Some days, you are going to make your shots. Some days, the refs are going to make bad calls. What you can control is your attitude and how you approach what you are doing that day.”

Here is how they measure attitude: “Where is your mindset after something bad happens to you?”


Attitude is so important to Coach Wright that he once have a scholarship to a player that he said wasn't talented rebought to play ar Villanova but had the right attitude and felt like he could bring value to the locker room.

In the video below, Coach Wright tells a story about an athlete named Frank Tweezy who earned a scholarship and leadership role on a Final Four team because of his attitude.

Coach Wright said they didn’t recruit him because he knew he wasn’t good enough, but they offered him a scholarship because he was a great kid and because they thought he could bring a lot to the program.

Much of sports is a cutthroat world where coaches are always looking for bigger, stronger, faster, and better talent. But the real winners know that attitude, mindset, and culture are what truly leads to winning.

Be the person in the locker room who is always getting everyone fired up. Make everyone believe in their ability to do great things the right way. Be the person who can call team meeting that get your teammates straight and on the right track in a way that they can listen and respond.

Despite not playing much at all, and not getting any star status, Frank Tweezy was the guy they elected to hold up the net when they went to the Final Four.

We can’t always be the best, but we can always be Frank Tweezy by having and leading with the right attitude.


Dr. Adam Saenz is a psychologist. He says that stress, fear, anger, and anxiety are natural emotions that we feel. A good way to measure your attitude is when you face any of these emotions, does it make you bitter or better?

We can't choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond. In anything and everything, measure your attitude by asking yourself, "Is this situation and how I am responding to it making me bitter or better?"


Finally, Steve Clifford is an NBA head coach. In a speech, he talked about the importance of adding to the spirit of the team. He said everybody determines if they want to help the spirit of the team or hurt it with the way they treat their teammates and handle coaching.

He said that teams in the NBA can win 2-3 games a year just because of the energy of the team, and he said the best way to do it is to be the most motivated guy in the gym and be the leader whether things are going good or bad. Don't overreact if they aren't responding to you, try to be adaptable enough if the day isn't going your way to try to fix it, and doing so with a positive tone is usually going to come off better.


Students, teachers, athletes, and coaches all over the country are going back to school. I hope you all have the right attitude, that you allow the things that come at you to make you better, not bitter, and that you add to your campuses, classrooms, and teams by bringing positive energy and enthusiasm!

Be good people. Be a good person that helps others. You never know what people are dealing with, so walk into every room trying to make the world a better place.

One goal I have is to make every room, team, and place that I am in a better place.


1 - What is one goal you have for this year?

2 - What is 1 habit that you can stick to that will help you achieve this goal?

3 - What is something that can keep you from achieving this goal?

4 - How can you overcome this barrier?

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