New To You

You see a quote or Google a concept and get some great info…the you realize the resource is from 2 years ago, or five, or twenty five…

Does that make it a bad, old or tired reference?  Maybe. Maybe not.

Good ideas have been around for a long time (and, you probably have some yourself). For sure you can adopt, adapt or customize such concepts others’ ideas to make them work for you.

Consider the content rather than the source. Use your own perspective and situations to decide what might be good for you.

Meanwhile, add to the universe of good ideas and perhaps make someone else’s world better at the same time.

Sports Aren’t Fair.

Recycled thoughts from 2015…
 
Work as hard as you can.  
 
Do 100% of the things you could do to set yourself up for success and you still might not get what you want.
 
Our society teaches kids to think positively, work hard…and they’ll get what they want.  We’re lying to them.  They still should work really hard, have goals and systems to move them forward. 
 
The lie is that hard work will surely lead to success.
 
In team sports there are only so many starting spots, places on all-star teams and winners.  It’s zero-sum.  For every winner there is a loser. By saying everyone can, with hard work, be a winner is doing a disservice to kids and to the process of working hard.
 
Yup, sometimes you do everything right and someone is still better than you.
 
By communicating this we help kids value the process, really cherish the victories and learn from the losses. Without this clarity they come to think of themselves as losers and many quit trying.  This hurts everyone.

Make It Up

When people don’t know what’s going on, they make something up.

Most are uncomfortable with the feeling, “I don’t know,” so they insert a story into the situation. It’s really a part of the human condition.

Do any of these sound familiar?

“She must just be a &#^&$ ,”, or “He’s just reacting to that thing that happened.”, or “I’m pretty sure that those guys are not the kind of guys we want to hang out with.”  

Things go south QUICKLY on teams when things are not easy and communication is not valued.  Or perhaps good “communication” is not defined well to be understood among the individuals, and so people have to make up stories to fill the gaps in understanding. 

What if coaches made it their top priority to define great communication, display the standards through positive and negative examples and talked about it

every

single

day?

Would that help?


Rule of Unwritten Rules

People have to sign things in order to participate.  From elementary school to the NCAA, one can’t participate unless they agree to do or not do certain things.  This we (mostly) easily accept, and regardless, the rules are really clear.

You likely have written rules for your team, no matter what type of team it is.  Perhaps a handbook, employee guide, posters in the lockerroom or a contract to sign.

On the flip side, many of us have more unwritten rules than written ones.  “Work hard”, “show respect”, “be a good teammate”, are all big picture unwritten rules.

Does everyone on your team know exactly what is meant by those unwritten rules? Do you know?

Perhaps you also have some that are similar to these: “freshman do the grunt work”, or “the head coach is always right”.

It’s time well spent to investigate and know what the unwritten rules are on your team–you may not even know that they exist–and to clarify the ones you like.  Even more importantly, shine light on the ones that are not valid or helpful to your team (“we drink a lot on Saturday nights”), and rid your team of these unhelpful rules.

Is College Coaching a Good Job?

It’s tough out there!  50+ positions have turned over in college softball this year. FIFTY! A good amount of coaches–of both genders but more women it seems–are leaving the profession altogether.  #coachingishard

Tongue in cheek I have said that women are leaving more often than men because they are “smarter”, and when it gets tough the recognize that there are other great opportunities.  I don’t really believe that, however. I think that lots of “smart” people are finding coaching at the college level to be too big a challenge because “we” don’t adequately prepare people for the job.

Yes, it’s a job. One that needs training and deserves our best attention. Like teaching in too many places, however, we think about how people do the job and not enough about what the role of a coach should be.  There’s too much at stake to just roll out the balls and hope people get it.

Obviously, sports at the college level is zero sum. Those who win couldn’t do so without another party playing the role of loser. Someone has to win.  So, unless are are globally happy with a 50% loser rate, the scoreboard cannot be the only measure of success.

Let’s train people to define success (by this I mean administrators being honest with themselves and others) and devise a plan to achieve most of the goals. Let’s allow mistakes on the scoreboard and believe in our bones that, indeed, things like good team culture, kids enjoying the process and becoming “better” people will indeed lead to positive results on the scoreboard, but not every time and not simply because we hope that coaches and players alike “get it”.

We are better than this.

Embrace The Suck (not what you think)

You might not be good at ________.

You might even know it.

You might hate to admit it, but you really don’t care about getting better.

Although it’s not what people mean when they say it, you are (at least subliminally) embracing the suck.

It might even be your job that you have no desire to to the work to get better at.  Then what?  In some worlds one can just get by not doing things and still getting okay results…but there is a “fix” for those of us who are not willing to change:  find a good deputy or designee.

DELEGATE.

Become good at simply knowing what needs to be done…you don’t need to be good at doing it. Find an assistant, a #2, a captain, a colleague that can get these things done for you.

Embrace the suck, if you have to.

Team Malaise

What happens when a team just loses it’s mojo?

Is this simply a “that’s what happens sometimes”, situation or can it be fixed?

Finding the cause, or lighting a spark…is one more important than the other?

Go back. Go deep. Go internal. Ask good questions about why this team plays or works on the things it does. What are the values at the core of the project or program? What’s its collective WHY?

If you can find the seed of its existence and agree that it’s one worth working for, then you can determine the actions that the group must take to move forward, to achieve and take steps in the name of the WHY.

Identify the WHAT, too.  What will you do? What things will you not do? Keep track regularly and enlist a tracking system to hold the whole group to.

These small things are the only things…one piece at a time a team can bring itself back to creating a great future.