So we are at that time of year where as a coach and player there is the talk about winning and losing and the results that are being produced is at the forefront of many discussions. There are many things that can derail us as coaches, players that I want to see if I can remind to see if this helps a bit.
As I stated before all of us can get off the rails so to speak and get caught up in disappointment because of the thinking that we can win, or deserve more. We can lose sight and turn away from what is most important during the course of the season.
We all experience success, we all have an ego that say we deserve this or that. We believe that maybe we are talented enough that we can maybe take it easy here or there, ease up on some of the development that should be occurring or the training that should be happening.
One of my greatest moments of coaching was the time that I spent learning from Coach John Wooden. As I was coming up and winning, thinking that what we did was a direct result of my teaching, etc., Coach spoke in parables, quotes, and with poems. One in particular that has become my favorite that he usually recited to me to make his point, was "IF" by Kipling. I was reminded that winning and losing were impostors. To treat them both the same, according to Coach Wooden, he used to tell me that you are not as good as people say you are and your not as bad as they say either. The players that you work with on a daily basis, they are why you coach. They are under your supervision and are you giving them the attention that they deserve and not just only talking about winning or losing and the end game, the results. Are you concerned with them as individuals as this is a short lived game, it doesn't last forever, but your relationship just might.
I began to change as a coach each time as I am sure everyone who came in contact with Coach Wooden, did change. It's easy many would say coming from someone who won National Title after Title and UCLA with the best of the best. But he was pointing out to all of those who looked for his advise, what was important.
I once had a team that I was playing against in a tournament, I believed that we were good, I saw that the talent level on the other side of the floor during warm ups wasn't that great and noticed that our own players thought that they were just going to run them over as well. We weren't serious as a staff and also as players during the warm up. I didn't address the situation as I should have right then and there, as a result, we ended up getting beat that night because we didn't approach the game the same as we would have had it been the championship round of the tournament. We were the better team, only on paper that night. I was so frustrated, furious as I knew we should have been better, I second guessed myself, took it out on the team, coaching staff, when I knew all along that it was my fault, period. So to this day, I take every opponent serious, as all the championships that I have won as a coach, were formed during that lesson learned that night.
The bottom line is that when you experience success we all think that we can cut corners from time to time and still achieve the end result, the win. Many of us get caught up thinking that we are bigger than the game. This comes from us only focusing on winning. We can get caught off the rails and make it so that we believe it's all about the X's and O's and not about the Jimmy and Joe's.
So ask yourself? What are you doing each day to make your players better people. Is your message only about the sport? Only about winning? There is much more to this than just getting the W. That night we lost I should have addressed the importance of respect for each opponent and that we owed it to ourselves to give our best effort regardless of who we were competing against.
We can become consumed with winning. We can forget about getting home to your significant others. Your family, children. We make up excuses that we don't have the same talent, we don't have the same facilities to compete with others. We need to practice longer, stay in the office so others will notice that we are giving all to this team. We can think that we need every advantage to achieve what we want and the thing that we usually sacrifice first is our family.
There are incentives to winning as well that have been placed, with bonus structures, raises, etc. This has now become a performance based industry. Including AAU. Winning supports your ego, yes, it also allows for those players to come to your programs, which leads to them going to NCAA., which allows players to continue with your program. So it's now come to this, winning is everything. Here's the problem. 99% percent of us aren't winning the ultimate national championship in the sport. So here's the question. How do you want to be remembered? Maybe the focus from winning should be to developing people. And make that the national championship that you are trying to create. Coach Wooden told me that he knew he did a good job, 10 years later, when those that were under his supervision, were doctors, lawyers, parents, businessmen, etc.
The lessons learned from sports are lifelong. What lessons are you imparting to those under your supervision? Make this season your best, use your own definition of the results your looking for.
I look forward to helping.