Anthony Donskov is the founder of DSC where he serves as the Director of Sport Performance. Donskov holds a Masters Degree in Exercise Science & is the author of Physical Preparation for Ice Hockey.
Coaching Character: Life Beyond Strength Training
“Character is made by what you stand for; reputation, by what you fall for.” (Robert Quillen) I’ve always believed that coaches have the unique ability to make a profound impact on the life of young minds. Strength and Conditioning is no different, the life lessons we preach at Donskov Strength and Conditioning move well beyond free weights, chalk, and hang cleans. We have worked to create an environment of accountability, attention to detail, work ethic, pride, perseverance, team first and FUN! It is our belief that these values are far more important than weights pushed or pulled and can be applied to all aspects of life. This environment has also created a loyal following of dedicated, hard working people. These are the intangibles that create success regardless of sport. This is whom I want on my team! “There are certain qualities that you look for in people, whether you are on a football team or in business. You look for people who are committed, devoted, and doing the best job. Talent isn’t going to matter either. I’ll take the guy who is out breaking his butt over a guy with talent in a close situation every time. I may get my butt beat a few times, but in the long run, I’ll win because I’ll have the guy with more character.” (Mike Ditka)
The White Board:
I am a sucker for quotes. They inspire me on a daily basis. When DSC opened its doors one of the first investments made was a large white dry erase board. Each week a new quote gets put on the board. From Wooden to Holtz, to Thoreau and Greeley these quotes have become a regular source of conversation at DSC. Here are a few examples of how we tie them into our environment.
- Treat people the way you want to be treated. A very important lesson I learned from Coach John Wooden is that I will NOT treat everybody the same. I will treat all athletes the way they deserve and earn to be treated. Everybody starts on the same playing field, but actions speak louder than words.
- “Life starts and the end of your comfort zone.” (Unknown) It’s ok to be nervous and excited. Growth comes from embracing the change. The only time you should be scared is if you’re not prepared. I want all the athletes prepared to work hard and have fun. One without the other is not acceptable.
- “Success is failure turned inside out.” (Unknown)Failure breeds success. It may not come overnight, but nothing worth having comes easy. Whether it’s mastering the Hang Clean or learning valuable lessons in a tough loss. If you grow from your “failures” they become blessings in disguise.
- “Everyone has a burden, its how you carry it that counts.” (Lou Holtz)The power of positive thinking cannot be overlooked. Attitude and how you handle adversity reveals your character. When the times get tough, stick your chest out and handle adversity with a positive attitude. Attitude is contagious! People want to be around positive attitudes. So do Coaches!
- “Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right.” (Unknown) Can’t is a bad four letter word at DSC. I don’t believe it applies to our mental and physical capabilities. It’s amazing what can happen with hard work and positive thinking.
- No one has ever drowned in sweat.” (Lou Holtz) My grandpa always said that you’ll never loose your shirt if you roll up your sleeves. I always remind my athletes to pack their hard hats and lunch boxes because the moment they step in the door, hard work starts! John Maxwell said pay now, play later OR play now, pay later. Important lesson: PAY NOW!!
I believe that a positive environment is not only paramount in building a successful training facility, but more importantly in sculpting the minds of young men and women. Strength training is a passion that we all share as coaches, but our jobs and responsibilities move well beyond the iron and chalk. The word Coach might mean more than we’ll ever know!