Entering my second year at Christian Brothers University (3rd season as an assistant at the collegiate level) I take a look back in order to look forward to this upcoming 2014-15 season. The conversation on loop from coaches to players is the discussion of the “process.” The process was evident last year and has helped prepare me for what to expect for the upcoming season. It almost seemed tangible witnessing the progression of how far we had grown as a team from the beginning of the last year to the tip-off our final game. As we prepare for our first official practice of the 2014-15 season I take a look back in order to move forward:
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. For a Princeton style offense, one of the first teaching points that we attempt to get across to the younger guys is that making mistakes is one of the best ways you will learn. Simply, it is a matter of trusting yourself that the mistake made will create the anticipation and vision to make the adjustment in future situations.
- Player’s first. Coach Cal is big on his “Player’s First” locker room mentality – granted we are not the University of Kentucky and by saying this it will never become a brand for recruiting purposes. However, when it comes to being an assistant (especially young or new to a program) you have to make yourself available or accessible to the players. I want my players to know I will find time to get in any extra workout, or I will try to put together an edit of the previous 2-3 games to help them see how they have performed. Make the time for the players and you will start to earn their respect. I think every coach is perceived for their characteristics/mannerisms and to be recognized among the team as the guy that will look to do what he can to help you become better in whatever facet as a student-athlete is a pretty good reputation to earn.
- Continue to find areas to improve. I have to constantly discover new areas of talent and interact with more coaches within the community. I have to continue to improve recruiting activity: visits, introductions, strengths of the program, background of the school, etc. I have to to improve the assistance in game management with recognition of lineup productivity, or pace of play. There are always ways to improve and I use the summer to learn something new, while during the season I look to develop from experience.
- Finally, if there is ever a hashtag to incorporate on this last thought is that it’s all about #TheChase. It is a reminder that there are so many outside variables that will complicate or hinder your ability to accomplish objectives, but the most important thing I learn from my first year at Christian Brothers University is perspective. Our guys had every reason to throw in the towel on the season. They knew that despite the losing streaks and inconsistency in performances, or lineups, that everything that had transpired throughout the season was in preparation for what we ultimately chase. As a coach, I personally look to chase down future opportunities. But, nothing is more important than what you are chasing right now. Without taking care of the task at hand or preparing for the game right now, there is no guarantee that the opportunity in the future will present itself.