Back to school – lots of new energy all over the country, on college and high school campuses alike. Most everyone has been at it a few weeks now, so treat this post as more of a reference point as opposed to “this is what you should do.” As exciting as the start of the school year can be, it also brings a special set of challenges. I wanted to share a few effective ways to help you and your team now that the wheels are turning.
1. MAINTAIN “CLEAN” ROUTINES – Do your players/team have structured days that flow well?
- EFFICIENCY OVER ACTIVITY – Make sure everything they’re doing has great purpose and will benefit the big picture.
- STRESS HYDRATION AND REST – Tough to enforce but easy to encourage – make sure the maximum physical benefits of these two things are made clear to your kids.
- TAKE A STROLL – Regardless of your campus size, get out during the day and take a walk. Go see them on purpose. On a small campus, you’ll see them without even trying. As a assistant at Xavier I used to take a walk to the student union to get a chocolate milk everyday, and would always see at least 1 or 2 players. A quick dap, hug or chat boosts your day and theirs. Note: Make these “bumps” NBA related: “No Basketball (talk) Allowed”.
2. STRING ‘EM TOGETHER – Great habits lead to great consistency
- LET THEM KNOW – When your team (or individuals) have an exceptional day, tell them about it. Also, tell them the importance of “capturing” days like this. Etch them in their memory bank. That which gets praised often gets repeated.
- CHALLENGE THEM – See how many great days your team can string together without a “turnover” (a late or missed class, below maximum effort in weight room, etc). Verbally “count them off” in the huddle before you break for the day if necessary. When there is a slip up, deal with it and turn the page to the next day (in a game, it becomes the “next play”)
3. LIVE OUT YOUR HASHTAG – Words look great, but culture is action
- MOTTOS AND BRACELETS – Many teams will come up with a word or phrase to put everywhere in the facility. They’ll also be posted on social media, worn on bracelets, and printed on t-shirts. As well meaning as these “hashtags” may be, the challenge is bringing them to life on a consistent basis as a total program. The right approach followed by the right actions – day after day – are the key. Do this and you’ll never have to explain what your “word” means. It’ll be screamed by the way your team carries itself.
Best of luck to you and your squads! The fall goes fast, and it’ll be game time before you know it. Maximize each day and make sure that the toughest team you’ll face all year will be yourselves.
Win The Day,