What differentiates high performers from the average? Now, I know all you coaches out there have spewed this question out to your athletes in many different forms with the goal of motivating them to ‘give it all they have’, because we all know ‘high performers’ never give up, work harder than anyone else and could never see themselves as ‘average’.

So what is the key ingredient in a high performer?

“High performers’ are less about talent and more importantly about adversity; high performers use day-to-day difficulties to fuel their achievements; average performers don’t even pay attention to adversity or overlook it. High performers look at adversity as an opportunity”.

It’s an important message, mantra, quote, wake up call, motivational quote, whatever title you want to give to it and it bears repeating. High performers overcome adversity.

A few weeks ago I took part in a webinar offered by our recruiting partner, SportsRecruits, the parent company of volleyballrecruits. As I mentioned in previous articles we partner with this organization to utilize their platform to manage our recruitable athletes’ database and communications. When I heard the title of the webinar it rang so deeply in me I could hear church bells! THE POWER OF ADVERSITY… I knew I had to tune in and glean some knowledge from Nick DiNardo, the author of the ‘Game of Adversity‘. He challenged us to think about “What differentiates high performers from the average?”

As I reflected over the five pages of notes I took from the 30 minute webinar, the correlation between high performers embracing adversity and the high expectations of results in the recruiting process are strongly related. Over the past few months I have been keeping a diary of the efforts, failures and road blocks our athletes face in their recruiting journey.  I began to see a trend:

High Performers in the recruiting process:

  • Take ‘adversities’ and turn them into great opportunities. Day-to-day difficulties actually fuel their achievements in the recruiting process.
  • Overcome rejection
  • Seek out new opportunities
  • And fight to succeed.

The recruiting process doles out a daily dose of adversity and my encouragement to our student-athletes is to face it and reap the benefits while embracing it. If you get a ‘no, I am not interested’ from a coach – then your goal should be to find a coach who is interested. If you get feedback from a coach telling you to improve a certain area of your game before they can move further along in the process – then you do everything in your power to improve that area of your game. If your dream school is not where you can play, then redefine your dreams. If you see other athletes succeed, then find out what makes them successful. If you receive criticism, always use it constructively. We want all of our athletes to be high-performers and not accept being average.

In closing, DiNardo shared that John Wooden never used the word ‘win’ with his players. He went on to say, “the most successful people do not look at the score – they focus on the process, the day-to-day work that must be put in.” Recruiting is not a match to be won, it is a process of day-to-day development of relationships, communication and remembering that ADVERSITY can be the best tool in your toolbox!

Special thanks to Nick DiNardo for the inspiration to achieve…

About the Author

Patty Costlow is the Recruiting Coordinator for Munciana Volleyball Club in Yorktown, Indiana