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Building People to Win a Championship



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?

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©2020 by John Saintignon.