“A Gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” -Irv Blitzer to Derice Bannock after Derice asked why he had cheated in the Olympics.
Winning isn’t everything.
At times it may seem like it is but coaches, captains, players, and parents all need to understand that winning isn’t the goal of team sports. Like Irv (John Candy) says, if you’re not good enough when you lose, you’ll never be good enough when you win. But we insist on focusing on the score or the team record, when’s the last time you heard someone worry about the team culture or player wellbeing? That’s because most of us don’t know how to run a team successfully.
Steve Jobs talked about it, the best educators understand it, and it’s a powerful fact rarely talked about.The fact of the matter is you can learn new things and change the makeup of your brain well into the later years in your life. The “plasticity” of your brain refers to its ability to change it’s makeup.
A professional violinist will have many more neurons firing around where their hands control the bow and violin in the brain. Mark McMorris’s brain would have many more neurons firing where his brain controls balance, and foot control being a world class snowboarder. A NewYork Times Journalist would have thousands of neurons firing in the parts of their brains that control writing, story telling, and reading.
Whatever your brain focuses a lot of time on, your brain will build up sufficient muscle around that particular area. Whether it be conscious or subconscious, you’re constantly making your brain smarter or dumber(if you’re not doing anything of future benefit to your brain).
Common knowledge has always been, what you’re born with is what you get! So if you were born “dumb” or didn’t have a good upbringing, you’re destined to fail. Wrong!
It’s those who realize that they can learn, practice and teach themselves many different skills and ideas that begin to truly flourish in life.
Learning doesn’t stop after highschool or university. This is how our society has been brought up. You go to school, learn, then get into the real world and work till you retire, then die board to death.
What if that’s the wrong way to think about it? What if we were meant to learn throughout our life? What if there isn’t a hard and fast “way” to do it? What if we could keep learning and adapting as we go becoming increasingly more valuable with every new experience?
You can learn anything
Yes you can’t go to the NHL after a certain point, the physical nature of the sport will hold you back. But that doesn’t mean you can’t train a coach, assistant coach, be a trainer, etc. It’s all in your mindset.
We’re great at telling ourselves “we can’t”. “That’s impossible!” a small part of our brains are extremely protective over what we can and can’t do. We love to quit before even trying, after all that is easier.
Start thinking the opposite. Start thinking you can do anything you want. It’s difficult at first but it’s the same idea as affirmations, the Tony Robbins’ system or “The Secret”. A positive attitude can literally move mountains.
I love the jobs quote from Steve Jobs:
“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. And the minute that you understand you can poke life, when you push in something will pop out the other side. You can change it, you can mould it. That’s maybe the most important thing.”
At a given Volleyball tournament of 12 teams, the first three teams go home happy. One, Two or Three are a nice finish, but anything after that really sucks. So the average coach has a 25% chance of going home happy?!? That’s crazy! Now I’m obviously over exaggerating but your win loss record is only one of many things to focus on as a coach. The problem is that’s the easiest thing to single out as a parent, athlete, spectator, did you win? Why not?
It’s not just coaching, in life we often forget what the purpose is. Is the end goal really just to win the tournament? At what cost? What are you willing to sacrifice? When will one more win be enough? In life, how much do you make? How much did you clear last year? How Any time I hear conversations like that I feel a little worse for man kind.
The money doesn’t matter, just like the win doesn’t matter.
Your goal is to get your team to focus not on the win but the bigger issues at stake in sport.
Are you a team?
Are you contributing to that team?
Are you getting better every day?
These can be very hard to focus on when everyone around you wants a win.
It’s hard to focus on creating something amazing in life when everyone tells you to get a “real job”.
As long as you don’t give up you’re not a failure.
The 75% of the tournaments you leave without a medal makes the other 25% all that much sweeter. There’s a romantic side to sports that Billy Beane talked about in Moneyball and I see on coaches faces time and time again. It seems delusional how much these coaches and volunteers put in just to help the younger generation see a sport through their eyes. It’s really quite amazing to see.
Don’t give up.
I talk to amazing teachers, mentors, and coaches all the time. I feel everyone is on the brink of quitting and getting more “me” time. I crosses every volunteers mind I guarantee it. But the tittle of this post is “It Sucks Being a Coach….Sometimes” because there are these magic moments where you see kids come together, do things they never thought possible, and learn life skills in a completely different way.
This past weekend we has Nationals in Winnipeg. We didn’t do as good as I thought we should (in the tournament), but throughout the weekend I witnessed a bunch of thirteen and fourteen year olds become a team. As a team they cheered on our arch rival at Provincials, Meadow Lake in any game they watched them play in. It’s like they grew up. The crux of the boys coming together was after cheering on a girls team they all went on to the court, lined up to shake hands, and congratulated the girls team on a game well played.
I couldn’t have been more proud.
Life gets hard to teach us a lesson. As long as we don’t cave under the pressure, as long as we don’t throw in the towel, we’ll be okay. The harder the challenge the more important the lesson.
This week Eddy and I are talking about perspective. Why do we trust designer? What do create professionals see that others do not? What’s so special about having taste?
Trust your designer
There’s a reason they are a designer, they have perspective. Trust them. Any creative needs some free reign over what they’re doing, they are artists after all. Don’t micro manage any creative process, that’s a great way to create something extremely mediocre.
When ever someone says “I’m too busy” I’m always reminded of a story I heard about from a Volleyball coach I look up to. In grade 11 leading into grade 12 I wanted to get better at Volleyball. I told my coach I wanted to play pepper (simple volleyball drill) more and he offered to come in the morning twice a week to play pepper at 7:30 in the morning. We did this for a couple months and I really think it helped my Volleyball skill in the long run. But more importantly, he was willing to volunteer MORE of his time to make me better. That’s dedication.
1. I remind 8 year olds trying out Volleyball for the first time this very lesson.
ANYTHING you try for the first time is going to be hard, don’t let that discourage you.
Remember, you just need to stay in the game longer than everyone else and you’ll be the default winner. Keep treading water, keep above the water line. Another day alive is another day closer to your goal.
2. In Richard Branson’s “The Virgin Way” he tells a brilliant little story about the Bumblebee. For decades scientists have been stumped by the Bumblebee. When you take into account the size of the body compared to the size of the wing span, the Bumblebee on all accounts should NOT be able to fly. It is a scientific impossibility. Then Branson’s goes on to say that up until this very day, not one scientist has ever been able to explain that to a Bumblebee.
Don’t listen to people who use the word impossible. They live a shallow life and will never reap the rewards of amazing breakthroughs, innovative new ideas and groundbreaking discoveries. To the future on-word we march, into the crazy unknown.
I think Leaders Eat Lastis one of the best books on leadership that has ever been written. Just the concept, putting others before yourself, is such a simple yet powerful principle to live by. Yet the majority of the worlds most inspiring leaders don’t see it as service, they see is as their destiny, they see it as what they were meant to do. Some people were meant to serve.
If you were born to lead that means you were born to serve others.
From 8 of my favourite books comes these inspirational quotes. From shipbuilding to eating order, you’ll find a beautifully selected cross section of smart, inspiring and quotes that simply make you smile. Enjoy.
I love this quote because I think most people are driven to shoot for the moon. They’re told to have a modest life, sit in a row, do what your told, don’t talk out of line, and hopefully after 13 years of this they’ll want to work in a factory taking orders from people in big offices. Well it turns out that’s no fun, especially for those just starting at the bottom of the totem pole.
Have a vision, have a big hairy audacious goal, have something! Go on now, create your wild and crazy expectation.
I recently finished an amazing read by Tom Asacker, The Business of Belief: How the World’s Best Marketers, Designers, Salespeople, Coaches, Fundraisers, Educators, Entrepreneurs and Other Leaders Get Us to Believe.
It’s an easy read, not very long, and filled with wonderful little stories that teach memorable lessons in a simple manner. I loved the book and have since bought it for people. I really think you should pick up a copy, after all, don’t you want something to believe in?
I’ve heard this stat before but really puts into perspective the ‘maker’ culture we’re living in.