All Arrows Point to Success

My name is Sonny Clsonny closeose. I am the Head Coach at CDBWC, working with both Virginia Elite and the high school wrestling team.

Coach Weber asked me the secret to my success. Here is my Pyramid of Success. I hear you saying, “Yeah, but we play baseball, or basketball or… How can a Wrestling Coach help me?” These are overarching principles that can be applied to any sport… Frankly you could use these in ANY competitive realm…

Your Arrows are the foundation of success.

Check out the pyramid below… It’s kind of like a food pyramid. The base of the pyramid is where your foundation exists. If you don’t have strength in this area, you’re finished before you start.

For example, one of the “arrows” is skill development. You have to develop your ability to score in order to reach your goal of becoming the state champ. So we start at the bottom with…

Layer One: ARROWS

At the base of the pyramid, I developed seven areas upon where any competitor can actively improve. They are called arrows because they can either point in the right direction or the wrong direction. The right direction signifies improvement and the wrong direction indicates regression. The best way to facilitate improvements is to keep all 7 arrows pointed in the right direction. If JUST one arrow is pointing the wrong way it can dramatically slow development.

These are the seven Arrows:

  1. Skill Development
  2. Athleticism (Strength, Speed, Flexibility, Endurance & Coordination)
  3. Attitude
  4. Recovery
  5. Relationships
  6. Habits
  7. Nutrition


The next section in the Pyramid of Success facilitates improvements in attitude, toughness, and mentality. We do that by focusing on the process of implementing regular, incremental gains in your Foundational Arrows.

“Show up, do the work, rinse and repeat.”

Warning to Coaches: Your athletes are watching you and will copy your attitude and behavior. Show up ready to do your best for those kids and they will respond in kind. This helps young athletes understand why sports is a lifestyle even when they aren’t preparing for a game.

Layer Three: STANDARDS

Standards are the things you can ask of any athlete that will allow them to quickly maximize their potential.

Some Standards are:

  • Working out hard, even when you don’t feel your best.
  • Remaining in a positive mindset even when things are going your way.
  • Giving 100% in every drill and workout, even when you may feel bored.
  • Showing good sportsmanship to your teammates and competitors at all times (win or lose)

*Ideally you would make quantifiable standards specific to your primary sport.

Layer Four: GOALS

At the top of the pyramid are your goals.  Define your goals…

  • Win the state title
  • Make sure all your athletes graduate
  • Win individual championships…

Whatever your goals are, make sure your team knows them. But remember to be focused on the foundational elements. You only need one goal (top of the pyramid), but you need to be exceptional at the ARROWs.

Be process oriented. Show up, make sure your arrows are pointed in the right direction, that your mental toughness and attitude is good, define some standards, and you will be surprised by the result in the end!

This chart doesn’t just apply to athletes…  It’s for COACHES as well!

If you’re a coach…  How much time do you put into following the steps in this plan?Youth athlete training

Use this simple method to increase YOUR chances of success and those around you!


-Sonny Close