Great plans make great players. Great players make great plans.
Action in love. Love in action.
Re-read those sentences. I am posting this for the benefit of those coaches, parents, and athletes who are heading into their summer practices and seasons. I am here to help. I am here to tell you the truth. I am here to make this easier for you all.
You determined the path of your season and success before it started. No, not today. YESTERDAY. Whatever you did yesterday, and its yesterday, and another yesterday has already determined what will happen today and tomorrow. True story. What will be has already been done. You determined it in your actions and your love of what you are about to attempt. Already done. Did you do it? Did you do everything?
Wait. The regular season has not started yet. Its probably the beginning of two a day practices, summer conditioning, playbook understanding, scheme introduction, and technique refinement. How can the season be determined already? This regular season was determined in the improvement season. I did not say OFF SEASON. I did not say RECOVERY season. I said IMPROVEMENT season. I could have said STRENGTHENING Season. Or LEARNING season. Or WINNING season. That is when all of those things are won. That is when all of those things are earned. A coaching buddy likes to speak on NOTHING GIVEN, EVERYTHING EARNED. This happens before the lights come on, before the jerseys are handed out, before the names go on the roster, before the schedules are released, and before anyone knows who you are or how good you are. This is when you build, strengthen, grow, and improve.
This is when you win. Or, lose.Some of you are asking what to do if you have not put in the work of those you are competing against. What do you do about competing at the same level as those who were already better than you? How can you make the team better if you have not bettered yourself? How can you go where you have never gone if you haven’t done anything to take you there? How can you shine under the lights if you have not sweated your way there in the dark?
Those players and coaches who win have done the work. They prepared. They pondered. They considered. That’s why they are better. You have to have worked harder than those who are in front of you. And, get this…you have to work harder than those who are behind you. They certainly are working hard to catch you. And, to pass you.
There is is. You have to work harder than you ever have. That is where improvement is. It is testing yourself. Expanding your skill sets. Strengthening your body. Sharpening your intellect. Raising your sport IQ. Being a great teammate requires trust. Trust from the coach or players in the work you have put in. Trust in your team or teammates in your being ready for each situation and circumstance. Trust in the person next to you that you are prepared, willing, and able to handle what is next.
That same coaching buddy and I often spout about THE VACUUM. What are you putting in your vacuum? What are you putting in our vacuum. Is it good? Because that will occupy the vacuum. If it is not, THAT will occupy it. WHAT ARE YOU PUTTING IN IT? What did you put in it yesterday?
That is the truth, and the truth is always shown under the lights. Always. Always.
If you have not put in the work as your season starts, my apologies. Not to you, but to those around you. They will know and they will pay. They are one coach, parent, or coach in the red. That payment always comes due when the lights come on.
If your season has not come yet, get to work. Fill the vacuum. Pay the debt. Be in the black. That is where the games are won. In the dark. In the off…I mean..IMPROVEMENT season.
Go. Epic awaits. In the dark.