Start Here

So, you want to go to college? And you want to play a varsity sport.

True?

If your answer is at least, “I think so,” then you have some work to do. Things are not going to magically unfold.

This year it’s been different, certainly, and people are prone to saying things like “when this is all over,” and “when we get back to normal,” phrases that are likely to hold back personal progress as well as impact mental health by focusing us on uncontrollables.

There are things you can do. Now. Here are two you’ve probably thought of and two you probably have not. Do all four for three colleges and see what you learn. Then, do them all for another set of schools…pick some new ones and see what you learn.

1-Go to the home page of the institution, the admissions office, and the financial aid page. Read 100% of the words and watch 100% of the videos. Keep clicking, reading and watching.

2-Do a Google search for the college using the “video” tab and commit 30 minutes to watching.

3-Use Google maps to do a street view tour of your own.

4-Create a LinkedIn account (you’re going to want one later anyway) and search the college, alumni, professors and students. See what people are up to.

If you’re paralyzed with inaction because you’re not playing as much as you’d hoped or can’t travel as you would have, you are missing opportunities to learn. There is plenty to be done.

Ask questions if yourself and of others, find people who have been where you are, and be willing to start over and over…just like preparing to take the field.

Ready? Set. Go.

Controlling

In my many years of coaching (and living) I have incorporated a lot of ideas taken from others. I’ve stolen, borrowed, repurposed, tested out, internalized and discarded many strategies. You have to, I’m sure.

We adopt and customize.

The things that have stayed with me for the long haul are the ones I’ve made time to stop and think about, the ones in which the customization is more impactful than the initial adoption; when I’ve front-of-my-mind considered what this idea means to me.

One key nugget like this, that many people talk about is quote control the controllables. This is a concept that’s been talked about and written about for millennia, yet many of us first heard it on a team in college or read it in a book, from a therapist or a friend.

It’s a foundational idea: don’t waste energy, or time on things outside your circle of control. Super simple, obvious even, yet a philosophy violated more than followed.

On the first day of the year, when many of us are moved to think about our lives, our jobs, and our place in the universe, I bring this idea, control the controllables, to the forefront of my mind.

This is a great place to start, a fitting reminder of the most basic of concepts. For me, the customization part means that I have to actively take stock to decide what I actually have control over. To remind myself that it’s my approach, my ethic that matters. Nothing more.

For generations I’ve told players that it’s effort and attitude. That’s all they have control over, how they respond to what happens. I’ve preached it, I’ve practiced it even, but I know that I need the reminder.

Happy New year.

Rule #2

Play “the right way” each and every time?

The ends justify the means?

Unless everyone knows exactly what the right way is we won’t achieve that, and no-holds-barred, win at all costs isn’t ok either.

Like most things on a spectrum, reasonable performance and appropriate behavior is somewhere in the middle.

When it’s clear that it’s cheating, however, the answer is obvious.

Even if the people don’t know you’re skirting the rules–official or unofficial–the game will know (Rule #98).

True prosperity comes with honest success.

Make Me!

Today I asked a college coach in her 3rd year as a head coach what she thinks departments should do to help first year HCs?

“What do you wish had happened?”, that first year, I asked her.

I wish that it was not optional to have regularly scheduled coaching sessions.

I needed help that I didn’t even know about.

I needed someone to ask me questions and reflect my answers.

I wish I had a chance to ask about the mechanics of running a program.

I needed some lessons on head coaching.

Where were we for that coach and the athletes that didn’t get our best product?

Best Practices

So, there is probably a really good way to do the thing that you need to do. Others have done it before, I’m sure, and you can get a lot from their experience.

You can research the best way to do this thing, you can rely on your own experience or you can ask a friend.

In my experience, I find that relying on my own best practices, for that thing or other similar things I’ve done before, is the best way to get a satisfactory result.

If I think about the way I like to do things, the way the best things have worked out for me, I find that there aren’t really an unlimited way to do things…

So, do something, see how it feels when it’s done, redo it, and go from there.

The best way to practice, is to practice.

Teaching Does Not Lead to Learning

Nothing is automatic.

Learning doesn’t happen for students because a teacher works hard or does their best.

Learning doesn’t need permission either. It’s going to happen if the conditions are right.

The teacher (formal or otherwise) can do the condition-creating and push the odds higher, and a motivated student surely helps.

The fun part is that we often learn something completely unexpected.

Keep looking for the learning.

What’s the How on Who?

It’s about the people. The ones you’ve learned from, those who have learned from you and the ones you haven’t met.

Do you know who you want in your life in the future? Who is the most impactful person you have yet to meet?

What’s with the crazy questions, I hear you ask!?

The Laws of Attraction say that you can bring what you want into your world with strong use of intention. Who do you want to be in your world?

Even if you don’t believe in what some have said is psuedo-science…what if it’s true that your thoughts can impact your future?

I’m in for believing.

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.

do it now

it gets done

you won’t forget

or remember at an inappropriate time

you won’t have to ask others to do it

more gets done. you gain time.

sounds easy, right? future me so often gets in the way…wow, is she productive!  so much, so that do-it-now me can easily step aside.  but, the upside is a winner. keep fighting the fight and resisting the resistance.