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29 years coaching experience/ 7 years as a varsity boys' basketball coach, now assisting

Monday, May 19, 2014

Success Hangover and High Expecations


It is a crazy thing that I have noticed throughout my many years of coaching sports.  Success can often be more poisonous than losing.  If you lose, a lot, more often than not you continue to work, work, work to get over the hump.  If you have some success, you will continue to work, work, work to be more successful.

However, when a winning streak occurs, or  you get over a hump to big time success, you often see teams relax.  It is human nature...it is the success hangover.  Teams forget how hard and focused they had to be to get to their successful level, and think that going through the motions is all that is needed.  They do not understand that there are teams that are hungry and focused wanting what they have. 

With success often comes high expectations for the next season.  I have seen this with my wife in her class as well.  She, by the end of a school year (she teaches 2nd graders), has her students working and behaving like a well-oiled machine.  When the next year begins and she has a new group, she is not real happy because they are awful, ok, maybe not awful, but not as good as the previous year.  She has not worked her magic on them yet and she is comparing the end of the previous year with the beginning of the new one.  It is unfair to do that especially for her.

With successful teams who return many players, they often think they will start right up in the new season where they left off from the previous successful season.  That just rarely happens.  Each season is different.  Each season starts at the beginning of that season and not the end of the previous.  Each season has its own problems and issues, and each team (whether most are returning or not) have to find their way.  It is normal.  It is ok if you start slow.  It is ok to not win the state championship each game you play, it is all part of the process.

It is a different process to be sure, but it is still a process.  And to me, as a coach, it is the process that means more than anything especially if you end with more success.