You know that we all have fear and failure. Sometimes we get fixated on just winning championships and while we are very proud of that, sometimes those wins are empty. As I suggested in the earlier blog, what do we become as a result of the chase? How did you get there? How did you treat your players during that time?
Here's some of the best advise that I can share with you that was shared with me a long time ago. Know that there is a 1/3 of the people that you meet that will be trying to drag/bring you down. They will be trying to take the life out of you. Selfish people, trying to only look out for themselves.
There is also the middle 1/3. These are the ones who just go with the flow. At the beginning of the season for example they are at the top 1/3. When you are undefeated, when everyone is starting the game, going to be all league performer, they love the coach, the team, the school, the whole world!
But during the middle part of the season it isn't going so well. That middle 1/3 now go to the bottom 1/3. A person not starting anymore, goes to the bottom 1/3. Your at the bottom of the conference race, they go to bottom 1/3.
Then you have the top 1/3. These are the players that go out and give you all they have each day, they give you energy every day.
You must learn to build armor. Protect yourself from the bottom 1/3, the people that talk negative, the school administration, maybe even your own team. Don't bring that bottom 1/3 home with you. Everything that you have done that day is going to be second guessed by the bottom 1/3 that day.
Key to remember to enjoy your coaching:
A. Don't let the bottom 1/3 drain the life out of you.
B. The middle 1/3 are interchangeable, they will go with the flow.
C. The top 1/3 will always give you the energy on good and bad days.
Ask yourself who are you going to protect yourself from personally and professionally?
How are you going to do that?
Each of us have a strong voice and weak voice. I was thankful that early in my life I was surrounded by people who taught me to believe in myself. You have to master this ability to have a strong voice to stay at the top of any profession. But each of us has a dark side that we have, that weak voice. Things like I want to quit, I am horrible, I don't look good, we can't win, etc.
Ask yourself are you contributing to your players weak voice?
How can you help them build that strong voice?
So here is the trick, to know when this is happening to the player and give them a solution on the spot so that they can correct during each of their moments in their lives. For example, I provide each of my players during a workout for example, when things are tough, I want them to ask themselves a better question. I want them to listen to the weak voice, I don't want them to ask themselves bad questions, like why am I missing the shot? Their weak mind will tell them dark things, like you are too slow, not quick enough, you don't want to be here, why are you here? Instead, I want them to ask themselves a better question. Such as, what can I do to make this basket? Now their mind will listen to the strong voice, the one that is providing solution, it will come up with solutions, like shoot the ball higher, snap the wrist, quicker.
Our real goal is to provide our players with a belief in themselves. We have to create conditions for them to do that. We have to give them a blue print to follow. We must convince them when they can't see yet.
I know each of us have done this in some form or fashion, you probably didn't realize it, but you were giving your players a blue print for how to handle things, like the creating of belief in the pressure moments: Something like this has gone on in each of your locker rooms.
We have been here before. This helps your players reflect on the past and to know what each of them do well.
You are here again. Reminding them of their good , why they have earned the right to be proud of where they are at.
Now let's go out there and show them. Let's have some fun. Giving your players the right to belief, and know that everyone will celebrate on the other side of reaching this success.
I also spoke in one of the earlier blogs as well about failure and how much of a role I believe it played into each of my practices, learning from it daily. We as coaches get comfortable talking about winning no problem, but we can't really talk about the failures with such ease.
I wanted to make sure that each day in practice there was a built in disadvantage in practice where we were going to have to focus on failure recovery. We had to learn how to handle it, not only by being placed in difficult situations but to each other, by saying my bad, next play, and perhaps a fist pump to signify that we are moving on, teammates saying, we got you.
I used a 2 minute drill in practice where there was going to be a clear failure recovery system in place and the pace would just dictate day to day who was feeling better, who shot better, attrition was in place, you name it. If you want more details just email me and I will send to you: Coach Saintignon email
The last thing I want to leave you with is the notion of leaving a lasting legacy. We all hear of this? What is it? You know that we each get a sentence out of our life that will be summed up by our players. Think about someone who has died, and you walk up to them and ask them who was it, they will give you and entire life of that person who lived, summed up into one sentence. Coach Bob, he was a great coach. So you get the idea, we only get one sentence.
I have been on the journey. You will be remembered by how you treat those players that were under your supervision. How you think, act, speak, that is your pattern of behavior. That becomes your character and thus your legacy.
What's your sentence going to be?
I had the honor of being able to volunteer at my son's high school, Mater Dei High School to assist in a wonderful program that they offered which was called Senior Interviews. It is a huge undertaking requiring parents to come and volunteer to sit and listen to a senior who is in professional dress and must come to the table to personally interview with you.
We all want to have our son/daughter be the highest performing player. But I want to ask you, what do you want them to get out of the sport?
Winning Championships is going to take a dedication to building people along the way.
Start with a theme. Do you have one? I have used many: One year I wanted us to be a unit, playing the same type of music, so I used one sound, one beat. I went off of what an orchestra sounds like, so we kept trying to keep with that theme. Another was coming to work every day. So I had to figure out ways to get that done.
Punch in and punch out, time card, blue collar worker, hard hats, lunch pail, a stone cutter mentality. You get the point. This is what I talked about daily, but I also had to show our players the same. I did this with companies as well, when I would walk in and show their employees how to get everyone to buy into what you are trying to establish.
I hear of every business, team, saying that we are building a culture? We are changing the culture? What does that mean? How? By making them work harder? There has to be more to it? For example we clocked in every day, even brought a hard hat to symbolize as well as having a rock at practice to show the process over and over again, to reinforce what the message was to be. We even had our players clock in, with time cards, to let them know that we wanted no distractions upon entering the gym floor, prepare for what we were going to do for the day.
What's your theme for your team?
When I was recently in China speaking, I told the audience of coaches about the lunch pail and what it symbolized and why we chose to use it. In the box, I know my own boys, like it when I write something in there from time to time or put a nice treat for them. But I also know when you see the people with a lunch pail in their hand, they are going to work, blue collar, usually outside, tough conditions.
For my players, I would put things in their lunch pail to help them remember and feel good and reflect upon things that will help them during the season. Like a bouncing rubber ball, to symbolize what I have been trying to promote to them all along, being resilient, having a next play mentality, bounce back!
We would as a staff, put in definitions so that our players would know what it meant, like Resilient: Bounce back from Adversity, move to the next play. And then images, of our own players if we had it, or others that we could find that would capture the moments.
You think you could use this with your team? Your company and employees?
One of the best exercises that was ever given to me was by one of my college coaches during my senior season at UCSD. I was struggling, trying to help others, to fit in, to not shoot too much, to get everyone else involved. My coaching staff wanted me to shoot the ball more and score more points so that there would be a triple threat on the team and make us a difficult team to play against. I was not sure how I was fitting in. My coach told me to go back to my house during the break that was offered for 2 days and go back to the place where I fell in love with the game. To remember the smell, the sights, the inner self talk, and it was just remarkable for me to do that. It brought me a smile, it reminded me of why I loved the game, why I played it. Needless to say, I returned for our December Tournament and was selected MVP of the tournament and helped our team to win the championship.
I tell my athletes and others when they struggling to put that in the lunch pail to remember what that is like, even though physically don't have to travel there, mentally can be done.
In closing, just ask your players/employees what they want to be remembered for? Remember earlier I talked about in a previous post about the performance skills and moral skills that are necessary. Have them decide which ones they would like to have, now you do the same. What would you like to be remembered for as a coach?
Are you like the many who believe that reaching success brings you happiness?
All of us having something that is missing from our lives. We think that if we achieve the hole will be filled up and we will feel better about ourselves. We think people will look at us differently, or we are going to get to a level where we feel complete as a person.
But really what happens is the more success you have the more driven you become for the wrong reasons, you become unhappy. Chasing the championship doesn't happen right away, so when you finally do win it all after taking years of work, you might reflect and think that you were looking at it the wrong way.
Achievement brought me for example, to think more about my purpose in life and what I was doing as a coach because once I began to win, it didn't fill the void of what I thought was going to come of it. I thought I was going to feel differently.
You can get to a point of now what enters your mind. You might think of a parade coming for you and really it's just back to getting ready for the next season all of a sudden. You ask yourself, now what?
I read a book on University of North Carolina Soccer Coach, Anson Dorrance, who has won so many national titles, more than 20. I read where after they win a title, a symbol that he gives his players, is a rose. To symbolize that the feeling of winning the title won't last long. Think back to your last achievement? How long did that feeling last?