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Why is it so hard to Repeat Back-to-Back Championships?

By Josh Gray

One of the hardest things to do in sports, whether team or individual, is to win back-to-back titles or championships. I would even say it is just as hard to win the same number of games or more in back-to-back seasons. This is every coach's and player's goal, but most teams never achieve this accomplishment.

What we usually see is a team come out of nowhere and have a great season (winning conference, district, and/ or the championship. Inevitably the next year, the team doesn't live up to the hype and does not experience the same level of success.

Why does this happen? Why is it so hard to win back-to-back championships or to sustain high levels of success over many seasons?

Well, there are many factors that lead to this result but there is one that is the most common.

There is a saying that "what worked the first time, won't work the exact same or give similar results the second time".

Applied to sports, most coaches who were very successful the previous season (or any season before) will do the exact same thing in future seasons expecting the same results. Basically, the coach assumes that because their success came all from the coaching staff's systems, with little to no other factors making any contribution., but this couldn't be further from the truth.

Here are some reasons that teams can't repeat high level success year after year:

  • Other coaches are smart and adjust their gameplan and/or recruiting

  • Your team doesn't have as good of athletes as the previous season

  • Other teams have better athletes

  • Your gameplan isn't adjusted to the skills of your athletes

  • Injuries

The opposite could be said about the reason a team may have had a breakout year.

In order to have consistently high levels of success, coaches must create a foundation or system, and modify this system each year based off the abilities and skills of their athletes along with their opponents. A great athlete means is able to adapt to any situation or environment, which also applies to being a coach. Just because something worked once does not mean it will work the second or third time.

We must constantly look for ways to put our athletes in the best position to succeed, and not let our egos think that we created an infallible plan!

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