The Coach

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One of my favorite movies is Hoosiers.  I love the story.  I love the acting.  I love the lessons that it teaches us about people.  Gene Hackman does an incredible job of teaching us some basic truths about coaching and mentoring.

If you don’t know the story, it is about a small school in Indiana in the early 50’s that goes to play a school many times their size and has a powerhouse team in the playoffs. It is the David vs. Goliath of sports, and just like in the Bible, David wins.

I realize much of the movie is fictional, and yet I appreciate the fact that what was interjected into the script had deep meaning.  Here are a few of the lessons from the coach that we can use:

  • Practices aren’t designed for your enjoyment.
  • There is more to playing the game than shooting.  There’s fundamentals and defense.
  • If you put your effort and concentration into playing to your potential, to be the best that you can be, I don’t care what the scoreboard says at the end of the game, in my book we’re gonna be winners.
  • There’s a tradition in tournament play- not talk about the next step until you’ve climbed the one in front of you. I’m sure going to the state finals is beyond your wildest dreams, so let’s just keep it right there.
  • You are in the Army. You’re in my Army. Everyday between three and five.
  • Five players on the floor functioning as one single unit: team, team, team – no one more important that the other.
  • The height of the hoop is the same at the home gym and at the stadium where the playoffs are held. Don’t be overwhelmed by new surroundings.  Some things do remain constant.
  • Everyone deserves a chance to succeed.
  • The size of your opponent does is not the determining factor of who wins.  The question is, who is the best prepared?  Who has the most heart?
  • See the potential in others and help them bring it to life.
  • Cast the vision for those that are following you.  They need to see what you see.
  • Believe in miracles.  They still happen.
  • Discipline is different from punishment.  Learn the difference.

If you are a leader of a company, a manager, or maybe you just have a family to worry about, think about the coaching style you have.  If all you do is rant and rave at your team or your family, you lost the game and may end up losing the season.  Coaching and mentoring can be tough and demanding for those who receive it, but they are more likely to receive it if they know you love them and that you care about them.  That makes all the difference in what they hear.

Shalom!

Dan Skognes

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