Self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-awareness is playing a much bigger role in today’s society as mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD continue to deteriorate some of these positive human traits we need in order to be successful in school, work, business, and sports. We often hear coaches talk about their player’s “mental game” and “mental toughness”. This stigma of competing with confidence have recently trickled down into the business and media world through much of Gary Vee’s philosophy that’s blasted through streams of content platforms promoting self-esteem through self-awareness and by putting yourself in the right mindset to ultimately win.

This leads to our first 2018 series of EIF Spotlight where we linked up with Coach Jimmy Yi to discuss about self-esteem and developing championship mentalities. For those of you who may not know who he is, Coach Jimmy has been an integral part of the local Guam basketball community. As a first-team all-island for the 2002 FD Friars, Jimmy co-lead the team towards a perfect 16-0 season that today still holds as the best record in the school’s near 3-decade basketball era. After graduating from FD and finishing college, Jimmy returned home and began coaching some of the most dominant teams and players the island has seen. In the few years serving as coach and assistant coach, Jimmy has already garnered 5 championships in both JV and Varsity in Mens and Womens’ with hopes of surpassing records in the year’s ahead.

EIF: You’ve had the experience of coaching and engaging with multiple generations of young high-school athletes go through their seasons as JV players into the Varsity level. What would you say makes the biggest difference between a winning team and a losing team? And what do you think separates individual talents from the herd?

Coach Jimmy Yi: That’s a great question. The biggest difference between a winning team and a losing team is what they do after their previous season ends. Basically, it comes down to work ethic during the off-season. Over the past few years, the team that won championships are teams and players that actually put in the work during their off-season, it really shows when they come back the following school year on who put in the work and who didn’t. Although the losing teams, they may argue and say they do put in the work, however, whoever puts in the MOST amount of work (and yes there has got to be talent yes, there has to be a great coach) however, the players that put in the most work and constantly put themselves in uncomfortable situations on the court will eventually succeed and win. This has been repeated many times over the years at all levels of sports.
“hard work trumps talent when talent doesn’t work hard”

EIF: Do you think a lot of the athletes on-island today have self-confidence in their skills? Do you think the mindset aspect of the game is as important as talent and work ethic?

Coach Jimmie Yi: Most young kids don’t have confidence today. Confidence has to come from within and someone has to kind of break it out and a good coach would do that (laughs) but we also need to be empathetic to these kid’s backgrounds and upbringings that makes them who they are so a lot of what we do asides from making them better basketball players is to help them gain self-confidence through this medium we called sports, this doesn’t just go for basketball players but all athletes competing. The kids’ mindsets today are totally different from our days especially with technology, social media, and just random stuff, today’s kids confidence are not as high as it was before, so when you can build that confidence up, it translates into better performance so yes the mindset of being self-confident is equally important to talent and work ethic. Taking the last shot of the game takes a lot of confidence and it needs to come and be built from within. Winning championships (at any level) isn’t easy and I think the team that ultimately competes at the highest-level of self-confidence usually will come out on top especially when talent and work ethic are also in place. 

EIF: There’s a fine line between being self-confident and just being straight arrogant. And we think most people get confused by that especially if you don’t know the person (or even if you do). How would you best describe the difference between the two?

Coach Jimmie Yi: You have to walk your talk. A lot of people do take self-confidence in the wrong way in an arrogant way, however, if you can back it up and to do what you say and follow-through it shouldn’t be an issue. But if you’re like the last person on the bench and you’re talking this game you don’t even get to play, then you should zip it. You got to back up your stuff so just be careful how confidence you are trying portray. Not everyone shows their confidence to the world so there are different approaches but if you are the loud one then you just need to back it up.  There’s nothing wrong with being confident, put in the work ethic behind the scenes and you go to work it should be no issues, but if you gain like 35 pounds and haven’t touched the ball in a year and you come out and start smacking, then that’s the biggest difference there. 

EIF: When you think of the word success, who is the first person who comes to mind and why?

Coach Jimmie Yi: Bill Britt, met him a long time ago, he’s passed away now. Many years ago prior to that, I didn’t really know the definition of success what successful is because there are many, many different definitions of success today. I personally like the definition of success he gave me years ago. “Success is defined by how many people are better off because you lived.” And I learned that firsthand from this guy, and it’s trickled down from many, many generations already to me. So he’s the first person that comes to mind and his famous quote the definition of success is how many people are better off because you lived.

EIF: What advice would you give to your old high school self? What would you say to him?

Coach Jimmie Yi: I tell him to work your butt off every single day, and put in every single dollar that your earn or received back in those days and just leave it in your bank account; and I mean work your butt off seven days a week, no days off period!

EIF: What is one book you can recommend to people currently? 

Coach Jimmie Yi: Jack Canfield, the one I just finished, success principles. Jack Canfield is the CEO for the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. John Maxwell books are good, there’s a ton of them, it’s on leadership. Developing the Leader within you 2.0, the original book was made 25 years ago and still as relevant as ever!

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