When athletes say “It’s just not fun anymore” they mean that they are failing, either individually or as a team (or both), to produce results commensurate with their training efforts. To have fun in sports, your training and your efforts and your diligence and your striving must show up in the performance of the skills for which you trained. If your performance does not reflect your training, don’t expect any fun.
It was the 2007-08 basketball season, and I was going into my junior year at Emmanuel College. We had graduated five seniors from the previous year—a loaded team that not only won the most games in program history, but had also made the school’s first ever conference championship appearance. Riding that wave of success our head coach left, leaving myself and one other teammate as the two lone holdovers from the previous season. In our first scrimmage of the year, we squared off against North Georgia and emotions began to run high. After that game, coach pulled me aside and gave me three nuggets that changed the way I have approached leadership. I hope they can have the same impact on your leadership game as they did mine.
You will probably never again be in a position to delight and honor your special friends and family the way you can as an athlete or performer. The phenomenon of acknowledgment is so strange it’s almost funny. Let me give just one example.
To this day, when I hear TV commentators discuss at halftime the “adjustments’’ some coach is making in the locker room, it makes me laugh. Sure, every once in awhile there is some strategy or different technique that can be employed, but what mostly happens is a coach gets in your face and reminds you what sports are all about. It comes down a lot more to doin’ things than to talkin’ about ‘em.
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From as far back as I can remember sports were my passion. More specifically, basketball was my passion. I loved being a kid and letting my imagination run wild. Day after day I would go out to my driveway and beat the best players in the world in epic one-on-one battles. Those blacktop wins pushed me towards the beginning of basketball obsession. This obsession continued to push me throughout high school and into the early stages of my college career.
Every coach is concerned with how coachable an athlete is. How concerned should a player be with a coach’s coach-ability? I think it ought to be crucial to you, even if from a purely selfish standpoint. If you happen to love your coach, love listening to his pep talks and philosophies, and want to do everything your coach says in the best possible way, you are lucky and will probably be able to listen attentively and flatteringly and do your best effortlessly. But what if you don’t like your coach?
Coaches, have you ever paused for a moment or taken the time to reflect on the balance you’re keeping between your family and coaching? I know that can be a tough question to ask yourself, but there may not be a more important one to consider. I challenge each of us to take a timeout today. A timeout to pause and reflect on our own lives. As we take this timeout, there are three basic steps that we must honestly contemplate in order to evaluate our coaching/family balance.
End-of-game nervousness doesn’t seem to cause more bad plays than occur any other time in the game, it simply gets more attention. In other words, don’t beat yourself up or consider yourself a choker just because you happen to lose a lead sometime.