How Does Your School Define the Word ‘Success?’

Often times in our complex society, we seek to use the spoken word and or phrases to define terms that may be in conflict with the written word. Different groups and individuals choose to use differing descriptions for the same word or phrase.

One such word that carries multiple definitions is the word “SUCCESS.” As the winter competitive seasons draw to a close, perhaps we should explore the word “SUCCESS” and the phrase “SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM.”

In almost every form of advertisement, products and merchandise are portrayed as the avenues to success in our lives. Many are shocked when they learn there are no real shortcuts to success regardless of how it is defined. Nothing beats hard work, dedication, attention to detail, etc. – all those values we espouse related to success.

As offered by a well-known writer, here are questions that give us a better working definition of success:

  • Are athletes reminded regularly of the need for academic priority and achievement? (Should be first on all administrators’ lists) 

  • Are students treated with respect? 

  • Is respect demanded from athletes and schoolmates toward teammates, opponents and authority figures? 

  • Are students who are not the “star player” given the opportunity to develop their talents? 

  • Does the program offer participation in competitive activities in order to allow the students to grow and 
to have fun? 

  • Are all students reminded often of good sporting behavior? 

  • Do coaches and administrators model these behaviors? 

  • Do coaches go beyond Xs and Os to bring life skills to the members of the team? 

  • Are such things as strong work ethic, teamwork, integrity and respect taught throughout the athletic 
program? 


Championships, college scholarships, state rankings will draw attention from fans, parents, the media and others. However, educators should focus on affirmative answers to these and other related questions to life skills development and character development in order to measure a “successful program.” Going beyond wins and losses will enhance education-based athletics in our school and communities and throughout the country.


– Gary Phillips, Executive Director