By Troy Vincent
Vice President of Player Engagement
“The time is always right to do what is right.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
As a student-athlete, you already realize the importance of “standing out” and being recognized for your exceptional playing abilities on the field. There is one quality, however, that far exceeds any one single play during competition. It’s called integrity.
Player integrity is not the most frequently-used term when discussing your potential. Those of us who played or are coaching the game, however, will tell you that you’ve got to possess it in order to truly be successful.
With that being said; what is player integrity, and do you have it?
To begin with, integrity, in general, is described as “the following of moral or ethical principles.” Each of us has our own set of moral standards based on what we feel is right or wrong. Personally, I believe integrity is both an internal conversation and an external action. H. Jackson Brown and Coach John Wooden both referred to character and integrity as doing the right thing when no one is looking. That takes thought followed by action.
Player integrity is based on all of these important principles and practices. As a student/professional athlete, even more is required of us due of our ability to have a greater community impact.
When you are part of a team, your actions either contribute or detract from the team’s overall integrity. If you compete fairly and are honest in all your actions both on and off-the-field, then your individual player integrity becomes an asset to the team.
Integrity and character may not be the flash that gets you noticed as often as talent and ability. When it comes to being truly successful in athletics, remember that talent and ability are like a sprint, while integrity and character will set you up for a lifetime of success.
As you prepare to return to your schools and institutions of education, remember these words: “integrity means the fit between words and actions, as seen by others.”