Villanova, who is in the 2016 Final Four for the second time in Wright's career, is poised to win a national championship this coming weekend. The article is a great example of the ups and downs that coaches, athletes, and teams face in sport, and how success can alter one's mindset and change a winning approach. Wright's first Final Four appearance was in 2009, which was immediately followed by a few disappointing seasons, full of early tournament losses. It was during the 2011 off-season that Wright confided in his assistant coach that he did not handle his program's success very well, and that success ultimately changed his approach to recruiting. Rather than replicate the best-fit recruiting philosophy that led to the 2009 run, Wright made decisions based on best talent, which did not pan out to more wins.
Success, using Wright's term, can be "intoxicating." Winning can bring a lot of positive reactions, like increased confidence in one's abilities and increased motivation to continue succeeding. But winning can also lead to a shift in an athlete's mindset, where the focus is on the success itself and what it brings (social acceptance, financial gain, etc.), rather than the process that went into its development. The emotional defense mechanisms kick in and there is a temptation to change, to listen to the "noise", to "protect" what you just earned. These reactions are all normal, but that is where the distinction needs to be; they are only reactions, not habits. It is important to let success sink in and pull the positives from the experience, but keep your training and thinking habits close and take the time to reflect on what got you there. It's time to set new performance and outcome goals and get back to work.