Fundamental Friday: The sport of integrity

Thank God it’s Fundamental Friday. This weekly article will venture into the fundamental elements of a variety of aspects of our lives and present the questions to us all, “Are we fundamental sound?”

Integrity: The fundamental word for this Friday.

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles and uprightness. It is the state of being whole and undivided. One way of viewing integrity is doing what we know is right even when no one is looking. It is the essence of being honest in a situation in which it can be easy or unknown if you chose not to be.

Integrity is not only how others view us and what we do, but it is how we view ourselves and the choices we make. As a coach, when assessing athletes abilities and determining the role they can play we (coaches/mentors) must be honest with the athletes. More importantly, the athlete must be honest with themselves. Knowing what one is good doing and/or what one excels in is meaningless if one cannot truly assess those areas of weakness or areas one can work in to improve.

photo credit: Brook-Ward Tyreek Hill Scores via photopin (license)

I once met a football coach whom many other coaches esteemed as a very good youth football coach. When asked about his approach to his success he simply stated, “At the beginning of the season, no one has a set position. Some children will grow taller, gain weight, lose weight, become faster or become slower.” With this in mind, it is up to the athlete to assess if the position he played last year or the position he/she desire to play. This is where the integrity of the athlete and the coach becomes important

The athlete has to be true to himself/herself especially in comparison to other athletes that may have better skills sets for a particular position than they do. In both track and football, a good coaching practice is to let athletes change one another for any positions. As a youth coach especially in football, coaches deal with parents and the child wanting to play specific positions.

Some coaches allow these athletes to workout in their desired position and then have the self-examine themselves in comparison to other athletes in the same position. Integrity allows these athletes to be honest with themselves (and their parents) on playing in specific position.

photo credit: acase1968 100 meter sprint via photopin (license)

Track is a little easier, because the clock is truthful, especially electronic times. Runoffs can be held at practice, but an athletes performance in an actual track meet may not be the same. Thus, some track coaches rely on an athlete 100 time at a track meet to determine which four (4) athletes will participate in the 4 x 100 relay. In both football and track, an honest assessment of oneself should lead to putting in work to get better, improve and then challenge for the any desired positions.

As much as coaches want to win, good coaches prefer to work with honest athletes that have the tenacity and desire to improve any areas that they may not be strong in. This is how average team become better and good teams become great. For an athlete, integrity includes put forth an honest effort during practice. The athlete must push themselves when their tired and the drills seem too hard to complete.

Pushing past through moments required each athlete to be honest about their efforts. The coach/mentor has to be encouraging yet truthful. Integrity from the coach means, the words “Good Job” means the athlete truly did a good job, if not, coaches/mentors with integrity will say “that was not your best effort.” The key to the latter statement is it has to be followed by, what we (coach and athlete) can do to improve.

This process of self-examination and having integrity is applicable to our daily lives. How many of us desire a different, better or higher paying position. Whether with our current employer or not, the importance of having integrity in examining one’s ability to do a job becomes critical in getting and maintaining a desired position.

photo credit: Official U.S. Air Force 151229-F-ZJ145-413 via photopin (license)

Integrity will have a person effectively assessing themselves and working on the areas that can improve to become the best candidate for the position. Similar to coaches and mentors, a supervisor and/or manager have to be honest with their subordinates. Having integrity includes acknowledging the strengths, accepting the weakness and putting together a plan of action that will help individuals become stronger in areas they can improve on.

Supervisor and managers have to speak straightforward, but with compassion. Employees need to be encouraged just like athletes but also need to be told areas in which they can improve. This too should be followed by a plan of action that can help each employee improve in any area of weakness. Our faith in God has a similar requirement of integrity. It requires us to self-examine ourselves as it relates to the commands of God.

The thought of doing what’s right even when no one is looking becomes more prevalent because it not just our actions, but our attitudes as well. There is a certain attitude that comes with choosing to do right or wrong. The attitude of choosing right is wrapped up in integrity.

Fundamentally, we have integrity in every aspect of our lives. The essence of honesty and Godliness is rooted in the integrity that we demonstrate on a daily basis. It is in our honesty with ourselves and everyone that deals with that demonstrate who we are. Let’s be fundamentally sound as we demonstrate a level of integrity that shows even when no one is looking.

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