THE LCUTD WAY: Building A Team Foundation. Core Values: Action, Vision & Culture As a coach I believe that the learning process is continuous; the longer you have a group, sometimes the more difficult it is to continue to grow and develop and find that definition of success because it’s always changing. I still see myself (in my own mind) as the’young guy’ coach and generally am. Having said that, this season will team #38 that I’ve coached in the sport. Does give me any credibility? not really, but I do believe I’ve learned a lot (primarily from doing it wrong before). A lot of times, we try to throw a bunch of concepts out there and just hope something sticks, we highlight all the negatives and try to correct them in a mad dash similar to studying for a test the night before vs. ingraining good habits. When you encounter issues and adversity (and everyone does), or when things aren’t going your way…. I believe it’s important to approach these in the same way, every single time. By doing so you don’t react out of anger or by venting frustration, you act out of habit, order and an understanding of the expectations. I feel these areas help teams develop a foundation of which they cans stand on, everyone then is on the same page and working towards the same changes. Having a few simple priorities (or core values) and established them early on can change a stressful, panicky, chaotic moment into a journey that everyone shares, and is willing to fight for. One of my favorite quotes is – “You better have a vision, you better have a plan, and you better have the passion for getting things done.” – Lou Holtz These obliviously can change from team to team, coach to coach and player to player… but here are 4 that we/I strive for every day: ACCOUNTABILITY – (If it’s to be, it’s up to me) Excuses are lies wrapped up in reasons. Focus and worry about your job first, your role and doing the little things right before we criticize anyone else. In 500+ games I’ve played/coach 98.5% of the time the referees and pretty bad; 95% of the time the other team may play unfair or breaks may not go your way. You can’t control the size of the field, the sun being in your eyes or if a player pushes you down a few times… but life’s not fair, get used to it. I think naturally, our first instinct is to find an excuse or something else to blame, coaches especially- many many times I’ve tried to rationalize failure, only to realize the result is still the same, no matter how good the story is. Most games aren’t decided by something else, and if they are – the reality is we all (coaches, players, etc.) can improve and influence certain things, learn more and work harder so that they aren’t. We can’t control everything, but a lot of the most important things we can (effort, mindset, attitude towards critique/criticism, commitment level, time invested, actively try to get better/work, education, etc.) This includes the coach not having all the answers- taking blame for losses and not just pointing fingers; it’s always an “US” thing not a “do this because I said so” approach. As a result you earn trust, commitment from your team. I think being a good sport win or lose is evaluating ourselves, saying sometimes it’s ok ‘the other team beat us cause they beat us’ and making changes to bounce back! You guys do this as good as anyone. CONSISTENCY / SEEKING PROGRESS (Thinking long term rewards > instant gratification) I am focused on developing a consistent style of play, I don’t change my approach based on emotions- I am consistent and able to handle success and adversity; I don’t sacrifice the short term glory for the long term process. Mistakes: Growing Me or Slowing Me? Am I doing the things that will make me a better player going forward? are my priorities in line with my long-term goals? does my play reflect a conscious decision making process or reaction out of panic? Are my mistakes building me to becoming a better player ? Am I forming good or bad habits? ALL IN-ATTITUDE (Take Initiative) I do what I should do without someone else telling me I need to do it. I am self-motivated, I do what I need to do because I want to. Am I finding something positive out of a difficult situation, losses or failure? Am I taking ideas & focus points from practice and using them in situation real games? Do I take criticism personally? are coaching critiques welcomed/beneficial? or viewed as confrontational and attacking? Are my mistakes technical (lack of execution) or tactical (conscious thought process / understanding of what next move is based on assessment of what’s around me – example: carrying when I have time/space vs. forcing pass to marked player) Technical Errors – ok (mistakes grow you, your learning from them;) Tactical Errors – not ok (mistakes don’t grow you, and you don’t learn anything from them. Like banging your head against a wall… no sense of what you’re doing / why you’re doing it) CHAMPION MENTALITY (Winners on and off the field; regardless of circumstance) “I think everybody should take the attitude that we’re working to be a champion, that we want to be a champion in everything that we do. Every choice, every decision, everything that we do every day, we want to be a champion.” – Nick Saban I leave the field saying “I played as hard as I could” for myself, my team, my coaches & family. If i miss a shot or make a mistake- I’m going to shake it off, turn-around, refocus and get back in a position to win the next play. If I fail I will not sulk, hang my head, pout or feel sorry for myself. I’m gonna play my absolute best, with heart and go out and fight for my team cause it matters to me. If my teammates make mistakes, errors or have a bad play- It’s my job to pick them back u. I make the extra effort to ‘band aid’ that mistake with the hussle, energy and fire; the same approach & attitude I appreciate and expect from them if same happened to me.