Milkweed Project

Milkweed is a life cycle on display.

It’s like an idea. Ideas are born, grow, spread their seeds and become greater through the additions of other factors. The offspring ideas find places to grow, the many seeds float and beautify on the way and a select few get lucky and start the process all over again.

For me, milkweed also reminds me of a time with my dad. A time when he made me grow by not helping with a school project. Even my tears which almost always worked on him did not that day.

The milkweed report was going to have to be written on my own.

I wish the fear of failure and procrastination tendencies went away that day with the milkweed report. They didn’t. I’m still a master procrastinator, sometimes moved to tears by my inability to get started. I know I’m not alone in that situation, but it feels good to say out loud anyway.

I am happy to have the milkweed memory to remind me that things do get done.

Rule #38

There is nothing like game day.

Now that our team hasn’t had a game day in what seems like forever, I’m tempted to say I appreciate them more than I did before.

However, that’s not true. I’ve always appreciated the chance to show up for and with my team and see how it shakes out.

Being “ready” doesn’t equal winning.

Working the process doesn’t mean the better team will prevail.

Being shorthanded, committing to your culture or being a great communicator means something to the game, they say, but regardless, the game will need to be played.

The fact that the game is always there is something we could always count on. Injured? Graduated? Quit? It doesn’t matter, the game will go on without you. Love your team more than anyone before you? Nope, it’s not important.

Just. Show. Up. We HAVE to give everything, but the game guarantees nothing.

I’d love to have that gamble in front of me tomorrow.

Does Everyone Know?

Oh yeah, everyone thinks that’s the right thing to do.

Everyone says it’s true.

I’ll get everyone together and we’ll get it done.

Is “everyone” really all of the people? Who’s important, and who is optional to be in the group of everyone?

If you need everyone on board you better be sure that everyone knows what’s happening. And if you don’t need everyone then just ask the people who are crucial.

What Does She Need?

What if that was the question we asked?

How can I help other guy?

What does this kid need from me as a coach? What am I going to do to move this situation forward?

We all have a narrative about what’s ok and what’s not, who is “good” and who’s not, but how often do we think about what’s actually best for the other guy? Now.

Of course what’s best for the team might be different. Then the questions change.

Could It Work?

What if you did the work to know what was truly important to you?

What if you saw all of your actions thru a lens of the values you believe deeply in? What if you really knew what those were?

What if you worked hard to really value the impact of your actions based upon higher values that winning and losing?  It might work.

Keep doing, and work harder on being.

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.

Regardless of Outcome…

Sometimes we say, before attempting any thing, that we are excited for the activity and will enjoy it, or learn from it, “regardless of outcome”.  True, we should always be hoping and expecting to learn from our situations, but too often this phrase is used as a built-in excuse.

We say, in advance, that we don’t really care about the outcome.

In sports, this is used when a team is young or inexperienced, or perhaps just unsure.

Having a good process and executing it well is for sure a key part of working any situation, but if we’re keeping score, planning and working to win is also part of the equation. Don’t give yourself an out before even starting.

Do More Weird

Just like the rest of the world, coaches are “judgy”.  We think that the way we do things is the best way (otherwise, why would we do it that way?) and we find reasons to poke holes in other ideas.

So many people doing “weird” things are having great success. Is this because of the idea, the implementation, the personnel, or a combination?  Hint: it’s almost always a combination.

What do YOU do that you think other people think is “weird” or outside the box? Do more of that.

Don’t Ever Change

In a world full of throwaway lines, one that gets me is, “don’t ever change!”.

Why would that be a thing you’d like to do? Why would person A not want person B to work to improve, to test new and better things, or at least to prove that the things they do currently really are the way to go?

We should always be growing, learning, indeed, changing. And, while we’re at it we should be mentoring, teaching and growing others.

Changing equals growing. So, “change!” need not mean to become something totally different or to get rid of the skills and habits that make you great, but to grow them and grow others along the way.

How could you grow yourself ?

Hey, Opponent…What’s Your Secret?

Coaches, we hear, “know thyself” all the time. Starting by doing the work to know what we value, our team’s strengths and holes in our game can certainly help you in preparing your team for a competition.

Also, know your opponent.  On the face of it, a good scouting report on their players can be helpful on game day.

Dig deeper, however, watch your competition with a holistic eye. Pay attention to the undercurrent,  feel the ebbs and flows of their style and energy. Aim to see holes where they don’t even know they have them.

Find the “secret” to their game, the go-to or the “hope not”, the points in a game where they are most vulnerable or lose their positive energy…see those and attack them there and then.