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Coach’s Corner: With Michael Lotief

The 2011 college softball season is right arond the corner! This year, the UL softball coaches have been nice enough to agree to do a “Coach’s Corner” segment, every week, throughout the season. Check in every week to get inside information on the 2011 nationally-ranked Ragin’ Cajun softball team. This week, co-head coach Michael Lotief talks about the start of a new season, with his “What Really Matters” blog. View the blog, below. Also, keep up-to-date with Ragin’ Cajun softball, by becoming a fan of their facebook fan page  http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Ragin-Cajuns-Softball-Fan-Page/141642419230558

Photo Courtesy: Ragincajuns.com

Coache’s Corner: With Michael Lotief

WHAT REALLY MATTERS

At the beginning of a new season, the discussion is often about our hopes and dreams and goals and aspirations.  The team comes up with a goal like winning a National Championship.

But it is more than just coming up with a “result oriented” goal.  The start of a new softball season, similarly to the start of the New Year, provides us all the opportunity to reflect on WHAT REALLY MATTERS and to chart our future direction by making resolutions.

Throughout our team exercise of coming up with goals and making our resolutions for the upcoming season, we first reflected on last season and spent some time celebrating the awesome wins in Regionals against LSU and Texas A&M; and we reflected on the lessons we learned from the UCLA Super Regional and the wonderful experience of competing against the eventual National Champions.  Seeing the National Champion “up close” gives you a unique perspective.  It exposes your glaring weaknesses; it is an experience that “knocks you down” but also gives you an opportunity to “get back up”, and it gives you confidence from knowing that you went “toe to toe” with the CHAMP in some areas of the fight.

While reflecting on the UCLA series, I could not help but think of “The Wizard”, John Wooden and how his philosophies could help us shape and model our thinking while we were formulating our goals for the season.  I think it is appropriate, considering our recent games against UCLA and the fact Coach Wooden died during last year’s College World Series at age 99, that we revisit some of Wooden’s philosophies on competing.  

Some of my favorite Wooden quotes:

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable”.

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

“Earn the right to be proud and confident”.

“Perform at your best when your best is required.  Your best is required each day.”

 “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are”.

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.  I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes”.

 Wooden was born to a poor family on a farm in Indiana. He credits his discipline and hard work to lessons learned on that farm. My favorites are:

Don’t whine,

Don’t complain, and

Don’t make excuses.

The Creed his father gave him at graduation from grade school was, “Son, try and live up to these things.”

1. Be true to yourself.

2. Help others.

3. Make each day your masterpiece.

4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.

5. Make friendship a fine art.

6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.

7. Pray for guidance and count and give thanks for your blessings every day.

Probably, sounds familiar to most of us and I bet many of us could tell similar stories about how we grew up and the lessons and values our parents instilled in us.  The fact that Coach Wooden won a National Championship as a player and then 10 as a coach afforded him the opportunity to tell the world about WHAT REALLY MATTERED in his life.  His secrets to success were the lessons and values he learned on the farm; and, the 2011 Ragin Cajuns Softball team will succeed or fail depending on how we compete as a TEAM and the things we value and WHAT REALLY MATTERS to us during the season.  If we care more about caring and competing as a champion and being people of character than we do about just results or about our reputation, then we will WIN!

Some of the “real” goals that our team came up with were:  to forgive always, cherish our  friendships, get each other’s backs, take risks and try new things, celebrate each other, to laugh much louder and smile more often, fall down and get up then fall down again and get up again, to enjoy the journey (both the struggle and the triumph), remember to thank those around us – it’s hard to express gratitude and feel stress simultaneously, and to keep the game in perspective while learning life’s lessons.

Last season was so rewarding as our team overcame so much adversity and injury and just kept competing and battling game by game.  This season has already provided us with victories and WINS as 4 players (Ashley Brignac – labrum, Katie Smith – ACL, Taryn Broussard and Gabby Bridges – appendectomy) have battled back from serious season ending injuries and are competing again at a high level.  But more importantly, this TEAM understands WHAT REALLY MATTERS and is chasing excellence both on and off of the field in 2011!

All the best to all the CAJUN fans in 2011!   Are you ready for some softball?

P.S.  Join us again next week on www.espn1420.com and we continue to talk RAGIN CAJUN SOFTBALL!

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Ragin-Cajuns-Softball-Fan-Page/141642419230558

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