Working for the Team

Chapter 7: It’s All About the Team

As you grow, develop, and experience, you will notice that the people you associate with can make or break you. Your team of people have to be the ones that understand your desired life outcomes.

Much of this book was developed because of the processes I learned from playing and coaching sports. The reason I like the pressure of sports is because there is only one championship that every team is fighting for. This makes everything you do very important.  As a coach, I knew I wanted to win a state championship. I knew that if I made the right actions as a coach, I would be able to develop the right players, and I could improve my chances of achieving this goal.

The biggest lesson I learned as a coach is that you can’t push so hard that you alienate your team. There is a perfect balance that must be achieved so that the team players understand not only what the goal is, but what is at stake if the goal isn’t attained.

Another issue is finding the right combination of players that desire to achieve this goal. Winning championships isn’t one of the wishes of a lot of players at the high school level. Many just like playing the sport, win or lose. Some enjoy the friends that come from the connections made through the sport. Leadership can only push so far before the players and their attitude win out. No matter how hard I would push, my players were only going to grow as far as they wanted. If they wouldn’t pay the price of dedication and development to a championship level, then you can’t expect a championship.

One of the best things I learned in my last season of coaching had to do with calling plays. That year, I honestly called great and timely plays, but the team just didn’t execute. That year, we lost more games than I had ever experienced as a coach. Conversely, there were years early in my career where the players would stay extra after practice to work on a few skills. That team ended up being ranked fourth in the state after a loss to the eventual champion.

What did I learn from those experiences? Simply put, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. Now, both of these teams had excellent student athletes, good kids, and great parental support but when it came down to what they wanted, both were as different as night and day. The team I coached that went 14-1 hated when any team scored on them. They hated when they dropped a pass. They hated being late to practice. They hated missing practice. They hated anything that didn’t have to do with their individual success and the success of the team. My team that went 2-8 didn’t mind those losses as much as my championship team. I realized that most of the players on that team were there for the experience of playing on a team, and weren’t ready to accept the mindset to be champions.

Being a champion takes a lot of effort, and can be overwhelming to a core of kids that just want to play the game. My championship team was thinking about going to a state championship two years before they had their opportunity.

This is a part of a chapter from my book Learning Curve: How to Prepare For Success When You Don’t Know Where Your Life Is Going by Pierce Brunson. Every Monday and Thursday for the next 12 weeks I will share parts of the book starting today 3/17/2014.  The next shares will come from my new book Rock The Crowd (Wednesday/ Friday Schedule starting 4/21/2014), a book that helps teachers give the best performances of their life as they teach their students.

Learning Curve: How To Prepare for Success When You Don’t Know Where Your Life Is Going is dedicated to helping the high school student that desires success in life but doesn’t know exactly what they want to do or how to do it.  During this confusing and stressful time most students just pick a college major or get a job and just hope things work out. Well, that strategy is terrible!  The best strategy includes learning and adding the characteristics in this book to one’s personality so that as the right opportunities come along the student can take hold of them.  Learning Curve is the jumpstart information that helps teens prevent a lifetime of wishing, “if only someone would have told me”, once valuable opportunities have gone away.

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