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Thursday, October 23, 2014

As You Age


I wonder how much longer I can do what I do when it comes to coaching. I am a little too involved physically and each year it seems to be less and less because I just cannot do it. From running to playing, to just being lively at practice and games; to running our elementary programs, I never fully realize how bad of shape I am in until we start again.

Just doing simple drills in short bursts leaves me winded. And then two days later, my legs and shoulders hurt and I wonder why. Why? Because I don't do enough physical activity anymore and that ends up being my exercise.

I know I should exercise more. I know I should run, walk, treadmill, something, but my motivation to do so is much less than my knowledge to do it. I am pre-hypertensive when it comes to blood pressure and I know that exercise would help, but I just can't motivate myself and it's sad.

I think I am handling aging fairly well, I am only 45, but mentally as I get older I want to be comfortable. And being comfortable is only really good in small increments. Too much comfort makes us weak.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mr. Worst Case Scenario


I have been called Mr. Worst Case Scenario a few times in my life. When some issue comes up or is in the news, I think of every possible scenario where it can happen to me. The one time that I downplayed the odds of something happening to me, it did happen which would only reinforce my previous behavior. Call it a personality flaw, my wife laughs at me and rolls her eyes, but it has kept me "safe".  But it has been something I have had to overcome to venture out from that "safety".

I do think it is a benefit in coaching any sport. I think of every possible worst case scenario and try to prevent them from happening. I guess that is why I never relax in a game or "win" until it is physically impossible to lose. Up 10 with 5 seconds left, game over. Up 10 with a minute left, or :45, or :30 left and I am still coaching as if anything can happen and possibly would.

I would rather keep my starters or best players in too long and then sub out when it's over than to have to put them back in the game again. That's why when I usually do sub, I sub everyone out but the best one or two players to make sure there is ball handling, passing, and scoring still in the game.

It might not be right, and I may have ticked off a coach or two in the past, but I am not doing it to rub anything in. I am doing what I think I have to do to guarantee a victory, even up to the last few seconds because I believe that you and your team can do crazy things to beat me. I've seen crazy things happen before and some to me, I don't want them to happen again.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Parent-Teacher Conferences and Mr. Mom


I know that I have written about how wonderful my wife is before and thanked her for all that she does in our lives, but it gets exaggerated when this time of year arrives.  She is a teacher in an elementary school and for two straight nights, she will be conducting Parent-Teacher conferences with the parents of all her students.

When she does this, I have to do what I do AND all that she usually does for us and our children for two...whole...days!  Let's just say that when those two days are over, she deserves a day off, and I have an even greater appreciation for all that she does.  She really is the real MVP of our family. There is nothing that I can do or say that would out do what she does for me and our kids.

I love her and I appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I Know There's a Balance, I Can See it When I Swing By

(Indiana's John Mellencamp)
That's actually a line from Between a Laugh and a Tear by John Mellencamp, the resident Indiana folk singer who most people have heard of (Small Town, Little Pink Houses, Jack and Diane, etc.).  But I am using it for how you run a program and your expectations for the program.

When you are building a program that hasn't won or there have been discipline and academic issues, you want to have the highest expectations in getting the players to reach for them.  Of course, they still need to be realistic expectations, but you must pull people up to those expectations.

Once you have a program going in the right direction, you want to continue to strive for the highest expectations both on and off the court.

But, and I have never had to deal with this, once you have gotten to a higher level on the court, how do you handle expectations?  Do you make the ultimate goal a state championship each year, or do you concentrate on being the best you can be each day?  Jim Matthews, a great coach I helped with at New Washington H.S. in the late 1990's, used to talk about having as much success as possible in the post season.  There wasn't a goal to win this or win that, but to have as much success as possible.  For some teams that may be playing well for a half, for other teams it may be winning the whole state tournament.

But what about those teams that have the potential for a deep run? Excellence each day? Or focusing on the end result? I don't think either is wrong.  I think if you make excellence your goal each day (shouldn't we do that every year?) it will all take care of itself.  If you make the end result the goal, it really is just looking at the day to day in a different way. If the end result is your goal, your focus, it will force you to concentrate on day to day excellence. But it must be enforced each and every day.  You cannot talk about the end result and then not enforce excellence each day.

There has to be a balance in dealing with this issue, but I am not sure I know where it is.

So what was this article about?  Me thinking out loud and still not sure if I figured it out yet or not.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ever Feel this Way?


When in a discussion, often which could be defined as an argument, I have held back the last few years.  There was a time when in arguing or even in talking with someone who wanted to really "give it to me", I would not hold back.  Ultimately winning the argument/discussion and being a total jerk in the process.  But I won and that was all that mattered.

Since I have grown in my faith, those same instances come up and I feel myself holding back.  For many reasons.  My faith and the example I try to live by which is the common decency not to be that way to another human being.  But as I get pushed and pushed, I feel that old me surfacing.  I say things I shouldn't because I know things I wish I didn't. Plus, to be real honest, if you don't feel like your hands are tied behind your back, it's real easy for me to put people "in their place".

It is so easy that when others feel they can fight back and say something they believe to be a "winner", I can go even further.  If you don't have that common decency to hold back, you can be ruthless, but I have found that I don't want to be that person, ever.  It is only when I am continually attacked or you want to win the final argument that the words form in my brain and are on the tip of my tongue, but I don't use them...sometimes. Sometimes because the insufficient human in me still rears its ugly head (I do apologize now which I would have never done in the past).

It is much easier to hold back if I drop out.  If I don't discuss anything with anybody having no opinion or I do not compete or coach it is easier to not take so many arrows, but what kind of life is that? I just keep praying for a thicker skin, the ability to smile it off, move forward, leaving the unhappy person behind as they continue to shout angry diatribes into the vastness of emptiness (where did that come from?).