life lessons from sports movie

Indiana has two seasons, basketball season and waiting for basketball season.

Although, This newsletter won’t make much sense if you haven’t seen the classic 1986 life lessons from sports movie, HOOSIERS.

Hoosiers is based on a true story, 1954 Milan High School with a tiny enrollment of only 161 students.  It was a true David vs. Goliath story that ended with them winning the state tournament beating much larger schools in a single class system. 

If you want a comprehensive list- check out the top 10 mental toughness documentaries that will make you better….

Here are 7 Life Lessons From Sports Movie Hoosiers

1) Be true to your convictions…

Norman Dale had a rule for playing team basketball that Hickory needed four passes before they shot. When Rade broke this rule by shooting, Coach Dale sat him, playing only four (4) players the rest of the game.

The coach was booed out of the gym.

It is tough to stay with our principles when they are contrary to the norm. However, we better have a plan in place and be true to our beliefs and mission, ready to sacrifice small wins for the larger purpose.

2) People will hate…

Coach Dale was an outsider, which people didn’t like. He even closed off practices, which was a no-no for that town. They even had a vote to try and remove him as coach. 

-If your job is to please everyone, then you’ll fail. Focus on your role and accomplishing your goals. It doesn’t mean to ignore the naysayers, but just stay focused on the real goal and not trying to make sure everyone agrees with you.

3) We must have those crucial conversations…

Hickory was missing their star player “Jimmy Chitwood.” Coach approached him while he was shooting one day and told him the truth, “I don’t care if you play or not.”

-It is a risk to speak the truth to those close to us because they can reject the message or even us. However, if we don’t learn to have these conversations, we will never know the impact and more than likely regret never discussing the topic. In the movie, if the coach hadn’t had the crucial conversation, Jimmy wouldn’t have gone to his defense.

4) We should have at least one gimmick…

When the assistant coach Shooter takes over late in the game, he runs the picket fence on them. His last message is epic, picket fence“just don’t get caught watching the paint dry. “

 I think all of us need to have something unique to ourselves or business that we keep, a trick up our sleeve. We can’t use this tactic often, because the Picket Fence was only used once. We need to save our gimmick, for when we will need it the most.

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5) Don’t show up drunk…

Shooter shows up to a game drunk, gets ejected, and simply loses it after that. Some of these life lessons from sports movie are simple. Here’s my blog post on why I quit drinking…

-Um, case in point, don’t show up drunk.

6) Focus on the process…

The big speech in the movie is saved for the semi-final game.

To summarize, coach says, “focus on your fundaments, if you play to the best of your ability, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book, we are going to be winners.”

-Too often, we focus on results and how the outcome will turn out, “will we win or lose?” There is fear in the outcome and it causes an ineffective type of focus. Coach reminds us to focus on the process of how we are going to perform and the steps that we need to do. This is one of the biggest life lessons from sports movie. 

7) Be confident…

The best scene of the movie, and with time for one more play, the coach calls a decoy play. Instead, Jimmy Chitwood tells him in the huddle, “I’ll make it.”

-We HAVE to be confident! It is the most important mental skill and it is also the most difficult. If we doubt our ability to recover from mistakes or to take risks, we will never be successful, period. We must believe in ourselves!!

It only takes one. The real Jimmy Chitwood, Bobby Plump, was asked during a CBS Final Four interview in 2010 in Indianapolis, “How important was that shot?” He replied, “I’m speaking to you right?”


dr rob bell speakerDr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. DRB & associates coach executives and professional athletes. Some clients have included three different winners on the PGA Tour, Indy Eleven, University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens.