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Coach's Corner - Scott Rosberg

Discipline & Trust

By Scott Rosberg

Coach's Corner Column - Scott Rosberg 2/1/24   Discipline & Trust

Last month, I told you that my boys' basketball team had come up with four Core Covenants that we decided we wanted to live by. Those four covenants are Discipline, Trust, Team-First Attitude, and Respect. Today I am going to talk about the first two—Discipline & Trust.

As a reminder, what we call Core Covenants, others might call Guiding Principles, Team Standards, or Program Values. These are the standards/values that we want to live by and be known for. We like the term “Covenants” because a covenant is a binding agreement where action is visible. The biggest key to a covenant is the second part of the definition—you can see it in action. Covenants are only as strong as the actions associated with them.


Our first covenant is Discipline. While the boys did not specifically say they wanted Discipline as our first covenant, I chose it for our first one because my coaching staff and I determined that of the four covenants, this is the one that we needed to establish the earliest and the one we would have to get really good at for us to have the success we seek at becoming the best team we can become. Quite honestly, it has been a challenge for us to get to the level of discipline that we need to get to in order to have that success, but we continue to stress the importance of it in many different ways.

Discipline is focused attention & focused effort. When you focus your attention and effort on doing what needs to be done, doing it the proper way to accomplish the task at hand, and doing it that way every time you are working to accomplish that task, you have discipline. Sometimes, though, there is no task—there is just living your life. When speaking of discipline in this situation, one has to have the discipline to live one’s life as s/he should in order to be all that s/he can be.

Some people think of discipline in a negative way. Usually, those people are focused on discipline as punishment. However, discipline is a positive term & personal characteristic. Discipline is a choice. Disciplined athletes understand that they need to make sacrifices in order to achieve what they want to achieve. Those sacrifices help them to accomplish more, have a greater sense of pride, and be great teammates. They are reliable and trustworthy. Having discipline is essential to being “coachable.” Once discipline is learned by athletes, they can carry that ability to every situation they face outside of sports.

Developing positive discipline is finding the correct balance between work and fun. All work becomes forced labor, and all fun is simply unproductive silliness. Discipline is the characteristic that sets teams apart and gives them the edge. That edge is called pride. Pride is never felt by poorly disciplined teams made up of selfish individuals who play carelessly and without passion. Pride is reserved for those special teams that can accept discipline as love and can learn to apply it in their own lives.

We talked about a few quotes on discipline, and the boys brought in some of their own. Three of my favorite quotes on discipline follow. Not coincidentally, all three are from very successful coaches.

"Discipline is: knowing what to do, knowing when to do it, doing it to the best of your abilities, and doing it that way every single time.” — Bobby Knight

“Discipline is not a dirty word.” — Pat Riley

“Without self-discipline, success is impossible… period.” — Lou Holtz


We then moved to Trust as our next covenant. We told the boys that as they move through life, they will find that trust plays a key role in each of the relationships they develop. No matter where people are or with whom they are interacting, trust is a bond that holds them together. When people trust one another, the possibilities are endless. When there is no trust, it is hard to find any possibilities anywhere. Trust takes a long time to develop, but it only takes a few seconds to destroy. It is developed in the daily habits that people have for how they treat others and how they treat the world around them.

I told the boys that there are 3 Cs involved in Trust, along with a bonus C. The first way to develop trust is to show people you are Competent at what you are working on with them. You have to be a person who gets things done. People trust others who have demonstrated their ability to perform successfully. It is hard for people to trust you if they have never seen you perform well at the things for which you need them to trust you.

Second, you have to show genuine Care for people. No matter how competent or talented someone is in any walk of life, if they do not care for people, they will not be trusted. A caring spirit is a critical component to developing trust. People are naturally drawn to others who care for them, and they trust that those people have their best interests at heart.

Third, you have to be a person of great Character. This is the most important quality one must possess when it comes to building trust. No matter how talented you are or how well you treat people, if you lack character, people will never trust you. A person's character is either the pièce de résistance or the deal-breaker for people when it comes to feeling that they can trust someone.

Finally, the bonus C when it comes to trust is Consistency. Trust is not a one-time thing. If you only show your competence, caring spirit, and character occasionally or in certain situations, you are not going to become trusted by others. You must consistently demonstrate each of the characteristics discussed above over an extended period of time.

Think about the people in your life who you trust and why you trust them. Then consider who trusts you and why they trust you. Are you living your life the way the people you trust are living theirs? By handling yourself in the manner discussed, you have control over the level of trust that other people have in you.

We talked about a lot of great quotes on trust, but I felt the following four were extremely powerful:

"Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships." — Stephen Covey

"Consistency is the true foundation of trust. Either keep your promises or do not make them." — Roy T. Bennett

"Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work." — Warren Bennis

“A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.” – Simon Sinek

In the next column, I will talk about the other two covenants that we have chosen—Team-First Attitude & Respect.


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