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29 years coaching experience/Worked Camps/Clinics on 5 Continents

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.