"Competitive character is the ability to withstand adversities and have the discipline to maintain focus on the next play. Championship teams are resilient. No matter what is thrown at them, no matter how deep the hole, they find a way to bounce back and overcome adversity.
We tell our players you have to play for 60 minutes in the game and never look at the score board. That's hard sometimes for fans to understand because that's exactly how they look at the game.
When you're in the process of being a competitor, you have to play, play to play to play. You can't let the last play good or bad affect the next play.
A team lacking competitive character will melt down psychologically when they have great adversity. One bad play can affect them for an entire game. A team with competitive character reacts with "stuff happens" and goes to the next play undeterred.
You have to be prepared to sustain your performance for 60 minutes in the game, and I don't think that's all going to be just about emotion. A lot of that is about competitive character."
In his book, How Good Do You Want to Be? With Brian Curtis, Coach Saban expanded on the idea:
"There are so many ways in which we hold ourselves back, taking away from our potential successes. Worrying about the score, surrendering to distractions, fearing or dealing with success and failure, being complacent and imposing limitations on ourselves are some of the ways we limit our potential.
With competitive character, all of these can be controlled with the proper mind-set. It is natural to be affected by where you are in life, but looking at the score and results can only take away from your competitive spirit. Stay focused on the next play."
Competitive character is not just wanting to win all the time. When faced with great adversity, people with Competitive Character have the mental discipline to move on not melt down.
How do you teach Competitive Character?