The great Vince Lombardi said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” One issue with this is that winning is never guaranteed. That’s why we play the game. It turns out that celebrating and showcasing your team’s past accomplishments could be detrimental to this season’s efforts.
It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish. I often share this with teams. Unfortunately, sometimes you give up an early lead. The teams that are able to come back are the ones that don’t panic – easier said than done. Let me show you how to keep the wheels from coming off.
Great teams pursue big goals. They go after the BHAGS (big, hairy, audacious goals) that Jim Collins noted of top performing organizations in Good to Great. However, setting big goals can be scary for your team. What if they fail? Big goals come with pressure and expectations. Show your team how to embrace the fear and chase big goals.
Dale Carnegie said, “Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn — and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” As a coach, do you play the fool or demonstrate character in how you interact with your players? Are you wasting your breath, time, and energy on criticism?
I love pre-game speeches. I love the excitement and anticipation before the face off. I love watching coaches, like yourself, share a few final thoughts before the teams take the field. How can you make the most of those precious moments before the game? Let’s look at 4 Cs to guide your pre-game speech.
Athletes face a lot of pressure in sports today. They feel pressure to play at a high level and to earn playing time and scholarships. They feel pressure to recoup the investment their parents have made in travel ball and specialized coaching. Unfortunately, many athletes don’t recognize where the pressure is coming from or how to handle it.
Athletes can have a short fuse. When the game doesn’t go their way they get frustrated. Unfortunately, this frustration gets taken out on opponents, teammates, fans, officials, and equipment in aggressive ways. Depending on the team, this may be okay. What isn’t acceptable is letting frustration degrade performance. Help your athletes keep their emotions in check to perform their best.