Integrity

What is integrity? It’s on the lockerrom signs, gym banners and tshirts that list core values of teams across the country.

Most won’t have a strong and clear definition.

I say it’s integration of who you are and what you do.

Knowing what you believe in is key. The central values like trust and communication have a critical role in every team. The core of who you (an individual or a team), is not a reflection, it is WHO you are or want to be.

We communicate well and trust each other. Those are core values.

What you do, the behaviors that are demonstrated are one’s true legacy.  So, we work hard to identify the things we’ll do in order to be true to our values, the “who” of who we are.

When we live our values…when the actions reflect those values: that’s integrity.

 

“Just Let It Go”

When things are upsetting, most of us can’t just take three deep breaths and be “over it”. Things don’t just go away because they hope they will, and most of the time the advice to “just let it go”, is a vast oversimplification.

Really, how do you do that?

If the event or situation was bothersome enough that someone else noticed and felt compelled to give you advice–the “let it go” mentioned above–then it’s likely not a small thing.  Those people rarely have the “how” or strategy to help us get past that thing right away.

So, unless you have an idea of how to help someone get past a problem, practice empathy and try to simply recognize that they are having pain or a struggle rather than telling them to get over it.

The Ungoal

Recently, I’ve been taking the time to think critically about the things that I have taken as gospel as a coach over my career.  Like goal setting, for example.

For many years I spent time talking to teams about SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic/relevant, timely, although there are many other versions of the SMART acronym).  I believe that if one is setting a goal then it should have many of these characteristics, and yes, having outcome goals can be a motivator.

However, in recent years I have come to discount the value of hard goals and focused myself and my teams on the behaviors needed to be the kind of team we’d like to be. Often, outcome goals are a consideration (“what behaviors do we need to do in order to get what we want?”), but not always.

The best behavioral discipline comes when the things a team says they want to do on a regular basis are a reflection of who they are–their values–as opposed to what they want to have at the end of the day.

Too often goals can be used as a crutch. We sometimes make excuses to justify behaviors that are not championship caliber.  We say that as long as we get where we want to go, it’s not that important how we got there. Untrue. Behaving in a way that’s outside one’s values, whether the values are stated and clear or not, is never a way to feel good about where one’s going.

Have some un-goals. Determine what you’d like to be on a regular basis and start doing those things and see where you end up.

Cleared for takeoff

Put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Then, breathe.

Flight attendants remind us of this every time we get on a plane.

In the case of emergency, or even just to be at your best every day, we should take care of ourselves first.

“Self-care” is a buzzword concept lately, and one that I’ve tended to push aside as too touchy-feeling and not as important as things like planning or assessing results. However, the basics of making others–teams and individuals–better involves having a handle on our own health and well-being.

It’s true. To be a great resource for others we should be at our best. What can you do to make your own situation better, healthier or more clear?

Maybe it’s eating, sleeping, hydrating or something else physical; maybe it’s making time to talk to others or read or just think.  Experiment with doing or not doing things differently and see how you can become a better resource to those around you by having yourself taken care of first.

 

Hey Coach, Watch Your Language

How often to you or your players use the words or phrases,

“I’ll try”

“I’ll see”

“Maybe”

“We’ll know when we get there”

“It depends”

All of those wishy-washy phrases really mean “probably not,” or some version of: “if I fail, it’s because I really never said I could/would”.

Pay attention to how often you say or hear language like that and see if you can move these out of your world.  I bet that the simple act of paying attention makes you more decisive.

And, I bet you’ll find greater efficiency and lower anxiety along the way.

It’s A Group Exercise

Working together is fun. Being on the same page with other people, finding a solution that requires others to add energy to the system, to match up the gears with colleagues, is a great way to move things forward.

That’s why so many of us love team sports, and why people pay to do the same workout with others that they could do for free by themselves.

Being around other people gives us energy. Working with others gets us to the intersection of enthusiasm and hard work. This is true on a team, within a coaching staff, position group, office pod or neighborhood.

Without a structured plan, however, working with a group can be annoying and unproductive. In team sports, this is where the “one chief” model becomes important. Someone needs to direct the work, start the music, evaluate the needs of the group.

How do you make working with others one way you get better as a coach?

 

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 ?

What Works For You?

Are you one of the millions who pays attention through blogs, Tweets or books to the ways that those who have “made it” structure their lives?

Do you follow people, learn their habits and work to implement some of those things into your life? Me, too.

Do they work? Do you stick to them? Do you really know what works for you? Because if you don’t know then you’re not testing them well enough.

To me it’s not the ‘working’, it’s the ‘knowing’.  If someone else’s routine or plan for a situation is a good one for you then for sure you should steal it! If not, then you should pitch it and find another way.

Development of an assessment system that you can use for everything from morning routines to practice planning to developing players and assistants is a key to moving forward.

Test it. Ready, set, go.

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.

Fake It ’til You Make It

Then what?

If you make it, then you’re a fake?

Making it ain’t all that.  Faking it’s just what we do. It’s all a fake operation until we test it, believe in it and make it a must-do for our personal system. Even then you might not be fully bought in.

So, yes, “fake it”, but don’t call it that. Be, then do, then you have what you have.

Rinse and repeat and love the mess!