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Tommy Amaker On Setting Standards

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Tommy Amaker (@HarvardBBall), a PCA National Advisory Board Member, has been Harvard's head basketball coach since 2007 after serving as head coach at Michigan and at Seton Hall. His college basketball career began at Duke, where Amaker started at point guard for all four years, leading the team to four NCAA tournaments and the 1986 Championship game. He was the 1987 winner of the Henry Iba Corinthian Award as the nation’s top defensive player, and he was enshrined in the Duke Athletic Hall Of Fame in 2001. His playing career also includes a gold medal as part of the U.S. national team at the 1986 World Championships.

In this clip, Amaker talks about the difference between standards and expectations, and how athletes can best set themselves up for success. Expectations are outside of the team, and he considers it to be an external word. Standards, on the other hand, are internal and placed on an individual or team by those directly involved.

Amaker thinks athletes should hold themselves to internal standards that will lead to success, instead of comparing actions to external expectations. He also ties this back into respecting Self, the last part of Positive Coaching Alliance’s approach to Honoring the Game by focusing on ROOTS, where “S” stands for respecting Self.